Toughie No 2547 by Stick Insect
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment **/***
We have a pangram today which even I couldn’t miss after solving 28a.
Thanks to Stick Insect.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.
1a Plastic lute is great instrument (5,6)
STEEL GUITAR: an anagram (plastic) of LUTE IS GREAT.
9a Contrary Greek ephebe is housing dog (4)
PEKE: hidden in reverse. An ephebe, I learn, is a young man undergoing military training in ancient Greece.
10a True determination can cut off offering resistance internally (11)
CALIBRATION: start with ‘can’ without its last letter and add an offering (in the form of a drink poured in honour of a god) with the abbreviation for electrical resistance inside it.
11a Half of arbiters initially opposed means of defence (4)
JUDO: half of a synonym for arbiters and the initial letter of opposed.
14a On the radio, kick a gentle Cockney fan (7)
ACOLYTE: this (just about) sounds like how a Cockney might pronounce a phrase meaning ‘kick a gentle’ (4,1,5).
16a Immortal wise man cycles around the French (7)
AGELESS: cycle the first letter of a wise man round to the back and insert one of the French definite articles.
17a Witty screenplay’s outline adopts high tone (5)
SALTY: the outer letters of screenplay contain a word for high tone. I always thought the answer meant racy or risqué but the BRB confirms that it can mean witty.
18a Bess’s partner loses head in drunken revel (4)
ORGY: the partner of Bess in the Gershwin opera without his initial letter.
19a Fatherless outcast goes west in musical (4)
HAIR: start with an outcast or ‘persona non grata’, remove the affectionate term for father and reverse (goes west) what you have left.
20a Retreat after female shows talent (5)
FLAIR: place an animal’s retreat after the abbreviation for female.
22a Daydream about lake inspires verse (7)
REVERIE: join together a preposition meaning ‘about’ and one of the Great Lakes and insert the abbreviation for verse.
23a Swell car mostly occupied by agents (7)
AUGMENT: another word for car without its last letter contains an informal term for Federal agents in the USA (1-3).
24a Petunia, lacking ingredients of pie, provides fish (4)
TUNA: remove the letters of ‘pie’ from petunia and use what’s left as your answer.
28a Mockingly interrogate partner about unknown vice discovered (11)
QUIZZICALLY: bring together a verb to interrogate and a partner or supporter and insert one of the mathematical unknowns and the inner letters of ‘vice’.
29a Baldrick perhaps found among Mensa’s highbrows (4)
SASH: hidden in the clue. A baldrick or baldric is a warrior’s belt for supporting a sword.
30a Girls cheat terribly to acquire hot source of illumination (11)
SEARCHLIGHT: an anagram (terribly) of GIRLS CHEAT contains the tap abbreviation for hot.
2d Opening of tropical fruit in warm (4)
THAW: the opening letter of tropical and a red fruit.
3d Settle up badly (4)
EVIL: reverse a verb to settle or make one’s home.
4d Stones Doctor Strange (7)
GARNETS: an anagram (doctor) of STRANGE. Doctor Strange is apparently an American superhero.
5d Aristotle’s ninth letter comes from returning nine of ours? (4)
IOTA: reverse a range of nine letters from our alphabet (1,2,1).
6d A game chap lacks heart for defence (7)
APOLOGY: glue together A, a posh sport and a word for chap without its central letter.
7d Queen heading north on vessel English considered improved (11)
RECUPERATED: reverse our Queen’s regnal cipher and follow that with a drinking vessel, the single-letter abbreviation for English and a verb meaning considered.
8d Complain over my French vacation price (11)
REMONSTRATE: around the French word for ‘my’ put a word for vacation or time off and a synonym of price or cost.
12d Fine tiramisu cooked around five o’clock, timeless preference (11)
FAVOURITISM: start with (the pencil) abbreviation for fine and add an anagram (cooked) of TIRAMISU containing the Roman numeral for five and “o’clock” after you’ve removed the verb to time.
13d Pardon head succeeding on account of surrender (11)
FORGIVENESS: a head or cape follows a preposition meaning ‘on account of’ and a verb to surrender or hand over.
15d Bird showing lineage, possibly? (5)
the letters required all appear in the word lineage but I think that’s a red herring and the clue relates to heraldry where the bird in question on a family crest indicates that an ancestor was a person of great power and noble stature. Split the word lineage 1,2,4 and do what it says – thanks to Jezza for the explanation.
16d Cavities swallowed by Bermuda Triangle (5)
ATRIA: hidden in the clue.
20d Team on the rise ejecting United in forthcoming tie (7)
FIXTURE: start with an adjective meaning forthcoming and replace (the first) abbreviation for united with the reversal of the members of a football or cricket team.
21d Two-thirds of bridge section is supported by hard debris (7)
RUBBISH: assemble the first two-thirds of a section of bridge (the game, not the structure), IS and the pencil abbreviation for hard.
25d Breakdown service rejected enrolling Zulu despot (4)
CZAR: reverse one of our breakdown services and insert the letter for which Zulu is used in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.
26d Demand one run along the ground (4)
TAXI: a verb to demand or weigh down and the Roman numeral for one.
27d 21, born before Henry’s overthrown (4)
BLAH: the genealogical abbreviation for ‘born’ precedes the reversal of a diminutive form of the name Henry.
My favourite clue today was 19a. Which clue(s) did you like?