Toughie No 2495 by Serpent
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty **/*** – Enjoyment ****
This is just the sort of puzzle I like – no gimmicks, no obscurities just clever wordplay and deceptive definitions. Thanks to Serpent for the entertainment.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.
4a Bizarre content-free media column shared by everybody (8)
COMMUNAL: an anagram (bizarre) of M[edi]A COLUMN.
8a Measure associated with the pound follows British economic recovery (6)
BOUNCE: a measure associated with a pound (of weight, not money) follows the single-letter abbreviation for British. CS will be pleased that there’s no sighting of her favourite cat!
9a This car could convey 6 (8)
RUNABOUT: this is a reverse anagram. Split your answer 5,3 and solve the anagram to get 6d.
10a Struggle ineffectually, being near the bottom in the main (8)
FLOUNDER: double definition, the second a creature that lives near the bottom of the sea.
11a He may buy rounds and drain bottle after golf (6)
GUNMAN: a verb meaning ‘drain bottle’ or ‘deprive of courage’ follows the letter that golf is used for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.
12a Peacekeepers clearing tense area of Tours goes wrong (8)
UNRAVELS: start with our usual international peacekeepers and add a verb meaning tours without the bit that is the abbreviation for tense.
13a Beat criminal up in Slough (8)
PUNISHED: stick together an anagram (criminal) of UP IN and a verb to slough or cast off.
16a Start school dropping every second set of courses (8)
LUNCHEON: glue together a verb to start or instigate and our usual English public school then take away the second letter of each.
19a Ignore importance of aristocratic underworld figure? (8)
DISCOUNT: when split 3,5 this could be an underworld aristocrat.
21a Dive practice on vacation includes breathing apparatus (6)
PLUNGE: the outer letters of practice contain a breathing apparatus of which most of us possess two.
23a New College hampered by twelve working with no representation (3-5)
NON-UNION: abbreviations for new and a college are contained in 12:00.
24a Wild dog almost biting relative is rather scary (8)
DAUNTING: a wild dog from down under without its last letter contains a female relative.
25a Misfortune, as expected, brings discomfort with it (6)
UNEASE: hidden in the clue.
26a Funny scene employs ‘characters’, regularly appearing inappropriate (8)
UNSEEMLY: select regular letters from the first three words of the clue.
1d Leave supporter for one expected to rise to great heights (7)
GOSLING: this was my last answer and I wondered for an instant whether a Brexiteer was involved. I needn’t have worried – concatenate a verb to leave and something used to support an injured member.
2d Mute panic when swimming is related to air supply (9)
PNEUMATIC: an anagram (when swimming) of MUTE PANIC.
3d Massage will reportedly cause irritation (6)
NEEDLE: a homophone of a verb to massage and a contracted form of ‘will’.
4d Lady disheartened after exchanging letters in a fitting manner (15)
CORRESPONDINGLY: the outer letters of lady follow a present participle meaning ‘exchanging letters’.
5d Staff getting on and coping with difficulties (8)
MANAGING: charade of a verb to staff and an adjective meaning ‘getting on (in years)’.
6d Preventative measure quashed by jury rejecting case associated with settlement (5)
URBAN: a preventative measure follows the word jury without its outer letters.
7d Praise responsible individual’s time in A&E (7)
ADULATE: someone who’s old enough to be a responsible individual with their final letter (an abbreviation for time) placed between A and E.
14d What addict maybe did to obtain free drugs once? (9)
SCROUNGED: a semi-all-in-one – make an anagram (free) of DRUGS ONCE.
15d Substance turning up in drug ingested by couriers (8)
SELENIUM: insert IN and the abbreviation for Ecstasy into couriers of illegal drugs then reverse it all.
17d Rid one’s mind of tragic figure stopping sister cycling (7)
UNLEARN: one of Shakespeare’s tragic figures goes inside a religious sister with her letters cycled around.
18d Back objective to replace leader in Hackney? (7)
ENDORSE: the falsely-capitalise hackney here is a type of animal. Replace its leading letter by a synonym of objective or purpose.
20d Wicked king’s not part of reason for incoherent state (6)
SINFUL: start with an informal word for sufficient booze to render one incoherent then remove the chess abbreviation for king.
22d Present Only Connect, wanting both sides to get involved (5)
NONCE: an anagram (to get involved) of [c]ONNEC[t] with both sides missing.
My contenders for honours today are 11a, 16a, 1d and 18d. Which one(s) beguiled you?