Toughie No 2570 by Stick Insect
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty */** – Enjoyment ***
Thanks to Stick Insect for a pangram which didn’t present too many problems.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
1a Agent for landlords, perhaps, one writes (3,2,7)
MAN OF LETTERS: an intellectual writer could, cryptically, be an agent for people renting out accommodation.
8a Sailor, hurt leaving home, swore to give up (7)
ABJURED: an abbreviation for sailor and an adjective meaning hurt or wounded without the 2-letter word for ‘at home’.
9a What cat might say to American encouragement (7)
IMPETUS: a talking domestic cat could possibly describe herself thus (1’1,3). Add one of the abbreviations for American.
11a Spades placed in long row (7)
DISPUTE: the abbreviation for the card suit spades and a verb meaning placed go inside a verb to long (as in “I’m longing for a cup of tea”).
12a Preference for the best space around settled island (7)
ELITISM: a type of space in printing contains a verb meaning settled or landed and one of the abbreviations for island.
13a King becomes husband in merry cycling verse (5)
RHYME: change the second occurrence of the abbreviation for king in merry to the genealogical abbreviation for husband then cycle the letters until a word pops into view.
14a Independent horse crosses middle of rough river first (9)
INAUGURAL: knit together an abbreviation for independent, an old horse containing the central letter of rough and a river that flows into the Caspian Sea.
16a Where bucks get wasted? (4,5)
STAG NIGHT: cryptic definition where wasted means drunk.
19a Restrained, therefore drink half-heartedly (5)
SOBER: a synonym for therefore and an alcoholic drink without one of its central letters.
21a Arsonist is more worthless (7)
LIGHTER: double definition. The BRB confirms that the second can mean ‘less important’.
23a Spicy quip edited by soldier (7)
PIQUANT: an anagram (edited) of QUIP followed by our usual 6-legged soldier.
24a Questionable debts after American friend goes west (7)
DUBIOUS: our usual monetary debts follow the reversal of a informal word for a male friend in North America.
25a Theatre accepts indication of alternative reservation (7)
STORAGE: a metonym for theatre contains a conjunction used to introduce an alternative.
26a Cover pan with a lid, almost producing snack (6,6)
JACKET POTATO: string together a cover or coat, a type of pan, A and a lid without its final letter.
1d Former PM embraces something ludicrous in elevated style (7)
MAJESTY: a PM of not so long ago contains something ludicrous or amusing.
2d Opening for executive with routine career, coming over for training (7)
NURTURE: assemble the opening letter of executive, a boring routine and a verb to career. Now reverse it all.
3d If returned, Democrat to be elected leader of government that’s wriggling (9)
FIDGETING: paste together the reversal of ‘if’, the abbreviation for Democrat, a phrasal verb meaning to be elected and the leading letter of government.
4d Banish former partner on French island (5)
EXILE: a former partner and the French word for island.
5d Excellent sauce (7)
TOPPING: double definition.
6d More elegant author loses head over unknown one (7)
RITZIER: an author without the first letter contains one of the algebraic unknowns and the Roman numeral for one. I don’t really like ‘over’ in a down clue being used as a containment indicator.
7d Culinary classic of Dr Law? (7,5)
WALDORF SALAD: a reverse anagram where the first word is an anagram (*****) of OF DR LAW.
10d More than one relation in militia rises unexpectedly (12)
SIMILARITIES: an anagram (unexpectedly) of MILITIA RISES.
15d Starter opposing late beginning of Oaks (9)
ANTIPASTO: weld together a prefix meaning opposing, an adjective meaning late or previous and the first letter of Oaks.
17d All agree bursar regularly ignored means of calculating (7)
ALGEBRA: just the odd letters from three words in the clue.
18d Group with common interests in online post? (7)
NETWORK: charade of an adjective meaning online and a synonym of post or job.
19d Big tree in the main including endless ring (7)
SEQUOIA: what ‘the main’ means contains a ring without its final T.
20d Trouble after noble fails to end swagger (7)
BRAVADO: a noun meaning trouble preceded by an adjective meaning noble or gallant without its final letter.
22d Create puzzle again when one prepared earlier lacks power (5)
RESET: remove the abbreviation for power from something prepared in advance.
My favourite clue was 7d. Which clues were to your taste?
In case you weren’t overextended by the puzzle here’s a bonus clue from my just-arrived Private Eye:
13d Grim, finished, close to how a sulking Trump feels himself to be? (4,4,2)
For those who’ve given up the answer is HARD DONE BY