Toughie No 2683 by Firefly
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ***
Firefly has given us a themed puzzle based on 10a where all the themed entries (except 9a) have something extra in common, as explained in 28/17a.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
7a How to conserve and raise exotic 10? (8)
CANARIES: a verb to conserve followed by an anagram (exotic) of RAISE.
9a 10‘s warm and dry hands (6)
AIRMEN: charade of a verb to warm/dry and hands or workers.
10a Absconders are still in France, approaching south (6)
FLIERS: insert a verb meaning ‘are still’ or remain into the internet suffix for France and append the abbreviation for south.
11a Brownie in crowd returning to base as before (8)
SELFSAME: insert what a brownie is in folklore into the reversal of a crowd or large group. Append the letter used for the base in logarithms.
12a Second assailant sets about shop worker (5,9)
SALES ASSISTANT: the abbreviation for second followed by an anagram (about) of ASSAILANT SETS.
15a Trailing about somewhat to find bones (4)
ILIA: hidden in reverse.
17a See 28a
19a Party time on tick? (4)
SECT: the abbreviation for time follows another abbreviation for a tick or short period of time.
20a Naive girl, enmeshed by the setter’s importuning, bolted from time to time (14)
IMPRESSIONABLE: a girl’s name (derived presumably from a Scottish island) is contained in how the setter would say that he is, a synonym of importuning or coercion and regular letters from ‘bolted’.
23a Loop back within Cork with son to see 10 (8)
SEAGULLS: reverse a word for a loop or handle inside a verb to cork then add the abbreviation of son.
25a Head’s rested on this rugby ball perhaps — that hurt! (6)
PILLOW: paste together a facetious term for the ball in rugby or other sports and a mild exclamation that you might use when you’ve hit your finger with a hammer.
27a 10 dismissed at the Oval, say, by Lock’s return (6)
ROBINS: the abbreviation for one method of dismissal in cricket followed by the reversal of a Scottish verb to fasten with a small bolt. A clever surface harking back to the heyday of Surrey Cricket Club when they had the deadly spin bowlers Laker and Lock.
28a/17a Bolts meat loaf — originally for 7, 23, 27, 4, 14, 26 (8,5)
FOOTBALL TEAMS: a clue to what all the 10s (except 9a) have in common. It’s an anagram (originally) of BOLTS MEAT LOAF. The clues listed are the nicknames (in order) of Norwich City, Brighton, Bristol City, Crystal Palace, Swansea and Sheffield Wednesday.
1d Guy auditioned in armour (4)
MAIL: this sounds like a guy.
2d Asleep uncomfortably in wood (6)
SAPELE: an anagram (uncomfortably) of ASLEEP.
3d Touch screens regularly finding applications (4)
USES: regular letters from the first two words.
4d 10 low scores by clubs? (6)
EAGLES: low scores achieved using golf clubs.
5d Poach trout to begin with, adding last of asparagus spears chopped up (8)
TRESPASS: T[rout] followed by an anagram (chopped up) of [asparagu]S SPEARS.
6d Sealed item Charles almost smashed (10)
HERMETICAL: an anagram (smashed) of ITEM CHARLE[s].
8d Mo preserves bronze with fallen head (7)
INSTANT: a charade of verbs meaning preserves and bronze with the top letter moved to the bottom.
13d Rock bottom? Well, I’m a lot different (3-4,3)
ALL-TIME LOW: an anagram (different) of WELL I’M A LOT.
14d 10 faint on board (5)
SWANS: a adjective meaning faint or pale sits inside our usual ship.
16d Margaret breaking scholar Giovanni’s heart? It strikes a chord (8)
ARPEGGIO: one of the many short forms of Margaret goes inside the central letters of “scholar Giovanni”.
18d Sign from second corporation to land on moon? (7)
SCORPIO: string together the abbreviation for second and corporation and one of the moons of Jupiter.
21d Secure both ends of excavation on slope (6)
ENLIST: letters at either end of excavation and a verb to slope.
22d Impromptus, primarily from Alexander Scriabin, including early pieces from Debussy, Liszt, Ibert and Bartok (2-4)
AD-LIBS: the primary letters of Alexander and Scriabin contain the initial letters of the composers listed.
24d P‘s out of training? (4)
SOFT: double definition, the first related to music.
26d 10 headless chickens (4)
OWLS: behead some chicken.
I liked 11a and 8d but my favourite, for the neat surface, was 27a. Which clue(s) appealed to you?