Toughie No 2487 by Hudson
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty **/*** – Enjoyment ****
This is a very enjoyable puzzle with lots of laughs – thanks Hudson. There are several UK-specific references involved so I hope that there’s not too much hair-tearing from solvers beyond these shores.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.
1a Read out clue for ‘men’s accessory’ — how many letters does it have? (7)
MAILBAG: this sounds like a men’s accessory. In the old joke a person when asked for help with such a clue enquires ‘How many letters?’ – to which the traditional reply is ‘hundreds!’.
9a Problem in seeing a locum trained in Georgia (8)
GLAUCOMA: an anagram (trained) of A LOCUM goes inside the standard abbreviation for Georgia (the US state, not the European country).
10a Irritating smoker I chewed up (7)
IRKSOME: an anagram (chewed up) of SMOKER I.
11a Civil question posed by former party leader following a 26 on the 12? (8)
AMICABLE: split the answer 2,1,5 to get the question a former political party leader might ask following such a blow.
12a Kissing naked head (6)
NOGGIN: an informal synonym for kissing without its outer letters.
13a More Indian cooking that’s responsible for stabbing pains? (4,6)
IRON MAIDEN: an anagram (cooking) of MORE INDIAN. The answer probably relates to a spiky mediaeval torture device (but it might also refer to a headache resulting from listening to the English heavy metal band!).
15a Greek characters reportedly ‘stable, improved‘ (4)
MEWS: this sounds like more than one occurrence of the twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet.
16a Gift from dad: £25 with a haircut thrown in (9)
PATRIMONY: an informal word for £25 contains A and the sort of haircut some of us needed badly by the end of lockdown.
21a Neighbour‘s instrument returned (4)
ABUT: reverse a wind instrument.
22a Maybe Stevie boy grappling with knight in fantasy world (10)
WONDERLAND: assemble the surname of Stevie (once, though no longer, preceded by ‘Little’) and a synonym for boy containing the chess abbreviation for knight.
24a Quietly probing French philosopher in university setting (6)
CAMPUS: insert the musical abbreviation meaning quietly into the surname of a French philosopher, author, Nobel prize winner – and one-time goalkeeper (as all good quiz enthusiasts know).
25a Angry tirade, involving Idlib getting evacuated? (8)
DIATRIBE: I wasn’t really sure what to underline here. We need an anagram (angry) of TIRADE containing the outer letters of I[dli]B but does the clue really work as an all-in-one?
27a Spicy article dismissing English character of Nelson? (7)
PIQUANT: this Nelson is an old Brazilian racing driver – start with his surname and replace the single-character abbreviation of English with one of our indefinite articles.
28a Apparently out of date filling to spoil one’s omelette (8)
LONESOME: hidden in the clue. Lovely definition!
29a Spooner’s Chinese sleeper agent that goes deep under cover? (7)
MANHOLE: Spooner might have mangled this into a Chinese dynasty and an embedded spy.
2d Tornado perhaps separating husband from toupee (3-5)
AIR-COVER: start with what a toupee could be described as (4,5) and take away the genealogical abbreviation for husband.
3d At the eleventh hour, when one has run out of pants? (4-4)
LAST-GASP: cryptically when one can pant no more. LOL
4d Dispense revolting Greek wine, collecting one mark (10)
ADMINISTER: reverse (revolting) a Greek wine and insert what the written form of one German mark (eine Deutsche Mark) looks like.
5d Downhearted atomic company, American, kicked out of 9 (4)
GLUM: remove the relevant three abbreviations from the 9a answer.
6d US agents supporting unusual uprising in Spanish city (6)
MURCIA: our usual US spy agency follows the reversal of an adjective meaning unusual or odd.
7d Banned advertisement placed in business magazine down south (7)
FORBADE: insert an abbreviated advertisement into the name of an American business magazine (probably best known in the UK for its annual ‘Rich List’) without the abbreviation for South.
8d Show message to TV presenter (7)
PAGEANT: split the answer 4,3 for a verb to message and one of an apparently conjoined pair of TV presenters. Am I the only person in the country who’s never watched a single programme featuring the pair?
11d Feel repelled by report of a fortune in eight (9)
ABOMINATE: this sounds like a charade of A, an informal word for a fortune or lot of money, IN and eight.
14d Where to see Hudson’s grey goatee? Answer, mate! (2,3,5)
MY OLD CHINA: where Hudson’s grey goatee might be found (2,3,4) followed by an abbreviation for answer. I’m a bit surprised that ‘Hudson’ in the clue wasn’t replaced in the online version of the puzzle by ‘compiler’ or ‘setter’ (as has been done with similar clues in the past) to compensate for the fact that the setter’s identity is absent from the online puzzle.
17d Teenager packing gun in holiday resort (8)
YARMOUTH: another word for teenager includes another word for gun.
18d Plan mutual lifts without constraints after the season (8)
AUTUMNAL: remove the outer letters from ‘plan mutual’ and reverse what’s left. ‘after’ here means ‘in the style of’.
19d Toon’s foremost winger? Rubbish! (7)
TWADDLE: the first letter of Toon followed by the surname of an English football winger from the last century. Toon is the local name of Newcastle United and the footballer did actually play for this club (among others).
20d Not clever, but weird (7)
UNCANNY: cryptically the answer could mean not clever or not smart.
23d Going out, Essex girl initially put on topless gown (6)
EGRESS: the initial letters of Essex and girl precede a gown minus its top letter.
26d Hit British referee, losing temper (4)
BUMP: join together an abbreviation for British and another word for referee without the synonym of temper.
My candidates for the podium today are 13a, 28a, 2d and 3d. Which one(s) made your shortlist?