Toughie No 2531 by Hudson
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ***
I found this fairly straightforward with little to disturb the thoroughbreds. Thanks to Hudson.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.
1a British socialist party metro hub spread gossip (12)
BLABBERMOUTH: abbreviations for British and a socialist party are followed by an anagram (spread) of METRO HUB.
8a First American receiving The Queen in Panama, perhaps (7)
ISTHMUS: a shorthand way of writing first and an abbreviation for American contain a 2-letter way of identifying The Queen.
9a Quick to suppress anger, most like blondes? (7)
FAIREST: a synonym of quick contains a synonym of anger.
11a I sit back, absorbing reactionary liberal Georgian city (7)
TBILISI: reverse ‘I sit’ and insert the abbreviation for Liberal (also reversed). I can never spell this place without checking.
12a Online buddy nursing an issue (7)
EMANATE: what could be an online buddy (1-4) contains AN.
13a Mischievous bishop slipping off shoe (5)
ROGUE: remove the chess abbreviation for bishop from a sturdy shoe.
14a Mantel novel introducing set plot (9)
ALLOTMENT: an anagram (novel) of MANTEL contains an area around a film studio where filming takes place.
16a One is quite short; extending just over a foot (5,4)
ANKLE SOCK: cryptic definition of a hosiery item.
19a Header from Yaya going right in the middle! Fantastic! (5)
OUTRÉ: start with the surname of the footballer from Côte d’Ivoire with forename Yaya who once played for Manchester City and move the first letter to the middle.
21a Passionate subaltern keeping you and me satisfied, mostly (7)
LUSTFUL: put the abbreviation for a junior army officer round the pronoun identifying ‘you and me’ and append an adjective meaning satisfied or sated without its last letter.
23a Ant having a change of heart with his partner over style (3,4)
ART DECO: the deadly duo are back again. Change the middle letter of Ant and add his partner and the cricket abbreviation for over.
24a Mother, drained, spoke incoherently (7)
MUMBLED: charade of an affectionate term for one’s mother and a verb meaning drained or sucked dry.
25a Afternoon refreshment for those who have been at the pot? (4,3)
HIGH TEA: cryptic definition of a meal for those who may have been taking illegal substances.
26a Spin doctor shocking Tennessee (about time!) in part of speech (7,5)
PRESENT TENSE: start with the abbreviation for a spin doctor (or more accurately what a spin doctor does) and add an anagram (shocking) of TENNESSEE containing the abbreviation for time.
1d In Crosby, drinking skimmed latte (7)
BATTING: Crosby here is not the town in Merseyside but an old crooner. His forename contains ‘latte’ without its outer letters.
2d Totally upsetting period exposed Mr Attlee’s first cabinet (7)
ARMOIRE: stick together the word ‘period’ shorn of its outer letters, MR and the first letter of Attlee. Now reverse the lot.
3d Bully Sinbad to a beating (9)
BASTINADO: an anagram (bully) of SINBAD TO A produces a punishment involving caning the soles of the feet.
4d Half-heartedly flick through article in magazine (5)
RIFLE: remove one of the double letters at the centre of a verb to flick through.
The answer can be, according to the BRB, ‘a groove on the inside bore of a gun’ but ‘article in magazine’ (though good for the surface reading) seems rather woolly for this. Any better ideas?
Thanks to Senf for suggesting that a magazine could be a place for holding military stores, i.e. a place where the answer might be kept.
5d Botox? I’d anticipated getting an injection of chemical compound (7)
OXIDANT: hidden in the clue.
6d Somewhat immature, put shirt on horse going over last from Aintree (7)
TEENAGE: bring together a type of shirt, an old horse and the last letter of Aintree.
7d Fruit crumble (apricot) — six left crust, expressing hesitation (8,4)
VICTORIA PLUM: make an anagram (crumble) of APRICOT, the Roman numeral for six and the top letter (crust) of L(eft). Append an exclamation expressing hesitation.
10d Demolishing holy retreat — a West End landmark (7,5)
THEATRE ROYAL: an anagram (demolishing) of HOLY RETREAT A.
15d Enthusiastically sell Ikea’s hottest curtains (4,1,4)
LIKE A SHOT: the clue conceals (curtains) the answer.
17d Area of conflict to crush Starmer, according to Spooner (7)
KASHMIR: a territory disputed by two nations in Asia could be rendered by the ubiquitous Reverend as to crush or pulp and the Labour leader’s forename.
18d Nurse makes hospital corners, tucks in (7)
ENFOLDS: an old abbreviation for a nurse (now called, I believe, a ‘level 2 nurse’) is followed by a verb which could mean ‘makes hospital corners’. There seems to be quite a lot of overlap between the wordplay and the definition.
19d ‘Old Tory’ label; boring figure (7)
OCTAGON: abbreviations for old and Tory with a label being inserted.
20d Support very French atelier every now and again (7)
TRESTLE: combine the French word meaning very and alternate letters from ‘atelier’.
22d Light working encouraged (3,2)
LED ON: a type of electric light and an adverb meaning working.
The clues which made my podium were 1d, 15d and 22d. Which one(s) appealed to you?
Joe passed away. His will provided £30,000 for an elaborate funeral.
As the last guests departed, his widow, Helen, turned to her oldest friend Jody and said, “Well, I’m sure Joe would be pleased.”
“I’m sure you’re right,” replied Jody, who lowered her voice and leaned in close, “How much did this really cost?”
“All of it,” said Helen. “Thirty thousand.”
“No!” Jody exclaimed. “I mean, it was very nice, but £30,000?”
Helen answered. “The funeral was £6,500, I donated £500 to the church, and the wake, food and drinks were another £500. The rest went for the memorial stone.”
Jody computed quickly. “£22,500 for a memorial stone. My God, how big is it?”
“Two and a half carats,” came the reply.