Toughie No 2539 by Serpent
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ****
Thanks to Serpent for an enjoyable and not too tricky puzzle. When I blogged Serpent’s last Toughie the setter left a comment telling us that every answer in the grid contained the letter L to match the patterns of the black squares in the grid (which I and all those commenting had totally missed). I’ve examined today’s grid and all I can see is a three-word phrase running down column six which may (or probably may not) have something to do with the mathematical operators in the black squares. Any further thoughts would be most welcome.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.
1a Ignoring record about avoiding clubs (12)
DISREGARDING: stick together a type of record and a preposition meaning about or concerning then take away the abbreviation for the card suit clubs.
9a Quite upset by unrestrained character’s manners (9)
ETIQUETTE: an anagram (upset) of QUITE followed by a written character without its outer letters.
10a Jar that may contain ashes (5)
GRATE: double definition, the first a verb.
11a Grape from California in new wine (6)
MUSCAT: the 2-letter abbreviation for California goes inside a word for new wine.
12a Accommodation units for policemen (4-4)
FLAT-FEET: join together a type of living accommodation and units of imperial measurement. The answer is a derogatory term for policemen (I don’t remember ever having seen this form of the plural used and it seems ungainly).
13a What could be blooming trouble kept coming back (6)
DAHLIA: glue together a verb to trouble and a verb meaning kept or owned and reverse the lot.
15a Another lead character in iconoclastic novel? (4-4)
ANTI-HERO: a very clever all-in-one clue. We need an anagram (novel) of ANOTHER and the first character of I[conoclastic].
18a Test includes core elements of medieval books from the east (8)
ORIENTAL: a verbal test includes the central letters of medieval and the abbreviation for some Biblical books.
19a Lock follows leader of scrum to apply pressure (6)
STRESS: one of the meanings of lock follows the leading letter of scrum.
21a Lied about rewriting opening of each speech (8)
DELIVERY: start with a 5-letter synonym of ‘each’ then exchange (rewriting) its opening letter for an anagram (about) of LIED.
23a What could be made by wine producer almost every year? (6)
GRAPPA: what’s used to make wine without its last letter is followed by the abbreviation for ‘every year’.
26a In the middle of exam on geological features (5)
AMONG: hidden in the clue.
27a Where one might record hit music for film character? (9)
SCORECARD: the hit recorded could possibly be a four or a six. Knit together a word for the music of a film and an odd or amusing character.
28a Kindly relative finally lent novel by comic (12)
BENEVOLENTLY: an anagram (comic?) of [relative]E LENT NOVEL BY.
1d Experienced visions of soldiers mainly consumed by fear (7)
DREAMED: insert a truncated word for ordinary soldiers into another word for fear.
2d Executives find out about computerised systems (5)
SUITS: a slang verb to find out or investigate contains the abbreviation for computerised systems.
3d I’m not sure about stopping Joy copying (9)
EMULATION: the reversal of an exclamation indicating indecision goes inside a synonym for joy.
4d Reporter’s not in favour of advance payment (4)
ANTE: homophone of a preposition meaning ‘not in favour of’.
5d Fighting to resolve dispute with wife for university accommodation (8)
DWELLING: start with fighting to resolve a dispute or settle a point of honour then replace the abbreviation for university with that for wife.
6d Time accompanying near darkness (5)
NIGHT: the abbreviation for time follows an old word meaning near.
7d Viewer plainly hinting at end of story? (5,3)
NAKED EYE: if you apply the first word of the answer to the second word you should end up with the last letter of story.
8d Man with two ducks and a penguin (6)
GENTOO: a posh man and two of the letters that resemble a duck at cricket.
14d What’s passed down line when person in possession passes? (8)
HEIRLOOM: cryptic definition of a treasured possession that’s passed down through the generations.
16d Get involved in free event the Queen puts on (9)
INTERVENE: start with IN and add the Queen’s cipher clothed in an anagram (free) of EVENT.
17d Scores goal, after losing first half, to change game (8)
LACROSSE: an anagram (to change) of SCORES [go]AL.
18d Trial one undergoes as alternative to plea bargain? (6)
ORDEAL: stick together a conjunction meaning ‘as alternative to’ and what a plea bargain is an example of.
20d Do nothing as substitute (5-2)
STAND-BY: with a space rather than hyphen this could be a phrasal verb meaning to be a passive witness.
22d Obscure magazine gets article for nothing (5)
VAGUE: a fashion magazine with an indefinite article replacing the letter that resembles zero.
24d Depression grips city and part of Barnet (5)
PLAIT: a depression or excavation contains the abbreviation for a US city. Barnet is Cockney rhyming slang (from Barnet Fair).
25d Can clothing lead to great company image? (4)
LOGO: an informal word for what can is a slang term for contains the first letter of great.
I ticked 13a, 27a and 7d but my favourite was the excellent 15a. Which clue(s) scored with you?