Toughie No 2451 by Gila
Hints and tips by Gazza
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
BD Rating – Difficulty **** – Enjoyment ***
There are twelve 4-letter and four three-letter answers in this puzzle. We often refer to such as ‘pesky’ but only one gave me any real problems – 8a where the A?E? pattern and the less than helpful definition had me scratching my head and eventually revealing a letter so that I could finish the puzzle. That head-scratching made me add an extra difficulty star. Thanks to Gila for the contest.
Do leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
6a Good examples of electronic form used to fill lists (4,6)
ROLE MODELS: insert the abbreviation for electronic and a synonym for form or manner into another word for lists (which could be a verb or a noun).
8a Flipping big city area taken over (4)
ANEW: this was my last answer and I eventually revealed a letter to get it. Stick together an archaic word for a big city (especially London) and the abbreviation for area and reverse (flipping) it all. I did know the word for the big city but I wasn’t sure originally which end of the clue held the definition.
I’m not really convinced by ‘taken over’ as the definition and I can’t come up with a sentence where that is interchangeable with the answer. Thanks to Nogbad for pointing out that the definition is just ‘over’.
9a Soft and hairy hybrid shrub (9)
FORSYTHIA: an anagram (hybrid) of SOFT and HAIRY. How many of you initially tried to find a shrub starting with P?
11a Great success as one blocking corruption (4)
RIOT: the Roman numeral for one goes inside another word for corruption or deterioration.
12a Hot soup is incredibly acidic? (3)
PHO: this Vietnamese soup (when split 2,1) looks like it’s an indication of very high acid content.
13a Bun is light, creamy at first, covered with fudge (5,4)
FAIRY CAKE: insert an adjective meaning light or spacious and the first letter of covered into a verb to fudge or falsify.
16a Rider provides cover for US soldier around animals (4)
PIGS: a rider or something added at the end of a document contains the reversal of our usual US soldier.
17a Couple possessing too much information about songbirds (7)
TITMICE: a verb to couple or unite contains the abbreviation for ‘too much information’ and the single-letter abbreviation meaning about or approximately.
18a Overly large but useful computer interface (7)
TOOLBAR: string together an adverb meaning overly, the clothing abbreviation for large and a preposition meaning but or except.
20a Female nurse headed to give assistance (4)
ENID: combine the abbreviation for an Enrolled Nurse and a verb to give assistance which has its first letter headed or lopped off.
21a Failing strategies, lacking input from good studies (9)
TREATISES: an anagram (failing) of STRATE[g]IES without the abbreviation for good.
23a Qualifiers seeing some competitors fight back (3)
IFS: hidden in reverse.
24a Zulu queen clutches a religious text (4)
EZRA: our Queen’s regnal cipher contains the letter that Zulu stands for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet then append A. A bit of Yoda-speak.
25a Become aware stuff brought about tense, messy affair (5-4)
MARE’S-NEST: weld together a verb to become aware (of) or recognise and a verb to stuff. Now reverse all that and add the grammatical abbreviation for tense.
29a How many make up a Spanish soccer side at any time? (4)
ONCE: if you only learned to count from one to ten in Spanish you should have gone just a little bit further.
30a Love getting into vacations to travel somewhere in the Atlantic (4,6)
NOVA SCOTIA: insert the letter that looks like love or zero into an anagram (to travel?) of VACATIONS.
1d Make a mistake and almost quit (4)
GOOF: start with a phrasal verb to quit or leave (2,3) and drop its final letter.
2d Drugs of unusual quality in the 60s? (4)
GEAR: double definition. Chambers says the second is an old slang adjective meaning ‘unusually good’ – I lived through the 60s and I wasn’t aware of that meaning.
3d Slightly unwell — or, on reflection, extremely poorly (4)
ROPY: reverse OR and add the outer letters of poorly.
4d Daughter comes in to take cap off, revealing untidy hair (7)
BEDHEAD: insert the abbreviation for daughter into a verb meaning to take the cap or top off.
5d Plant in pound range with moss for replanting (10)
LEMONGRASS: start with the letter used as the abbreviation for pound sterling and add an anagram (for replanting) of RANGE and MOSS.
7d Don’t start getaway, then vigorously attack victim (9)
SCAPEGOAT: a word for a getaway without its first letter is followed by a phrasal verb (2,2) meaning to attack vigorously.
8d Group erected storage unit to support a citadel (9)
ACROPOLIS: a synonym for group or collection and the reversal of a storage unit for grain are preceded by A.
10d Gutless slugger boxing current holder of title (3)
SIR: the outer letters of slugger contain the symbol for electric current.
13d Situation marked by no frenzied frolicking? (6,4)
FRIEND ZONE: this, new to me, is a platonic relationship between two people, one of whom wants it to be more than platonic. It’s an anagram (frolicking) of NO FRENZIED.
14d I meddle to begin with and step in direct (9)
IMMEDIATE: concatenate I, the first letter of meddle and a verb to step in or intercede.
15d Sailors in team synch manoeuvring (9)
YACHTSMEN: an anagram (manoeuvring) of TEAM SYNCH.
19d Strip bar with little reputation tackles the crux of adverse publicity (7)
DEPRIVE: a bar with a poor reputation contains the central letter of adverse and the abbreviation for publicity.
22d Place to stay during the last part of autumn (3)
INN: as is very often the case the easiest clues appear in the lower reaches of the down clues. Combine a preposition meaning during and the last letter of autumn.
26d In the end, it’s ordinary and very meh! (2-2)
SO-SO: put together the last letter of it’S, the abbreviation for ordinary and a synonym for very.
27d European fashion college (4)
ETON: the abbreviation for European is followed by another noun meaning fashion.
28d Understand, principally, that worthiness isn’t guaranteed (4)
TWIG: the principal letters of the last four words.
My podium contenders were 13a, 18a and 19d. Which one(s) appealed to you?