Toughie No 2699 by Artix
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty **** – Enjoyment ****
This is my first blog of an Artix puzzle and a very enjoyable experience it was. There’s a fair bit of GK here and it helps if, like me, you are a) fairly old and b) interested in sport. It may pose a few more problems for those outside the UK. Artix has sprinkled a few gimmes (such as 12a, 14a and 6d) among the more tricky clues. Many thanks to the setter.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
1a England’s safest pair of hands, perhaps, to trust when filling gin? (6,5)
GORDON BANKS: a verb meaning to trust or rely goes inside a brand of gin.
7a ‘U’ is also confused with retro ‘Y’ (7)
SLOANEY: an anagram (confused) of ALSO followed by the reversal of what Y is an abbreviation for.
8a Get back together on set (7)
REGROUP: join a prefix meaning on or concerning and a set or clique.
10a Fireplace where unmarried folk will strip (5)
INGLE: strip off the S letters from both ends of unmarried folk.
11a Dock stalk on plant (9)
PENSTEMON: charade of a dock or enclosure, a synonym of a stalk and ON. This is a North American plant (new to me).
12a Capital I invested in dodgy casino (7)
NICOSIA: insert I into an anagram (dodgy) of CASINO.
14a EU character not in favour of another’s wine (7)
CHIANTI: bring together a Greek letter and ‘not in favour of’ to make a wine from another EU country.
15a Say Hutton’s better being cover (4,3)
LENS CAP: Hutton was a prolific English batsman in the years before and after WWII – assemble his forename plus the ‘S and a verb to better.
18a Perfectly hit Chopin’s first note (6,1)
MIDDLE C: we have another cricket reference. Start with a verb to hit the ball using the sweet spot of the bat and add the first letter of Chopin.
20a Track particle drunk by the gallon (5,4)
THEME SONG: a subatomic particle goes between THE and the abbreviation for gallon.
21a Close to border, leaving body in bushes (5)
COPSE: remove the closing letter of border from a dead body.
22a Devious doubling of perimeters around emotional President? (3-4)
EEL-LIKE: double in turn the first and last letters of emotional and append the nickname of a US President of the 1950s.
23a Asian food crop returns earned before twelve Eastern (7)
EDAMAME: reverse a verb meaning earned or brought in and add the timely abbreviation meaning ‘before twelve’ and the abbreviation for Eastern.
24a Add two thirds of egg into bean-flavoured buns to create baker’s nightmare? (5,6)
SOGGY BOTTOM: insert the final two-thirds of the word egg into an adjective meaning bean-flavoured and add what buns are an informal US word for in an anatomical sense.
1d Virgilian poem snubbed last king in command (7)
GEORGIC: remove the last letter from the name of our most recent king and add the abbreviation meaning ‘in command’. See here for more information on Virgil’s poetic work.
2d Maybe Aga Khan’s toe snagged by pet (5)
RANGE: insert the bottom letter of Khan into a pet or tantrum.
3d Divine location for exhibition centre (7)
OLYMPIA: double definition, the first being the home of the Greek gods.
4d Cynical Independent involved in Corbyn’s downfall (7)
BYRONIC: insert the abbreviation for Independent into an anagram (downfall) of CORBYN.
5d Stop-out partygoer hit Knightsbridge, spilling rum kegs (9)
NIGHTBIRD: a subtractive anagram – make an anagram (hit) of KNIGHTSBRIDGE after you’ve removed the jumbled (rum) letters of KEGS.
6d Alfresco effigy which will self-destruct in spring? (7)
SNOWMAN: a fairly gentle cryptic definition.
7d Might this turn out like ‘Instant’ you initially ordered (one to go)? (6,5)
SKINNY LATTE: an anagram (ordered) of L[i]KE INSTANT Y[ou] without one occurrence of the Roman numeral for one.
9d Fraud men chose, zip being possible outcome (5,6)
PONZI SCHEME: an anagram (being possible outcome) of MEN CHOSE ZIP. The perpetuator of the largest fraud of this type was Bernie Madoff.
13d Horrid chant about writer’s insides (9)
SICKENING: a verb to chant contains the inner letters of the name of probably the most famous British novelist.
16d Goes through three stacks of chalk (7)
NEEDLES: double definition, the second a geographical feature off the south coast of England.
17d Rank European polymaths: ____ has to appear (7)
PTOLEMY: this is a compound anagram. An anagram (rank, in the sense of foul) of E[uropean] POLYMATHS contains as fodder this name (a Greek astronomer) plus the word HAS. It’s quite difficult to underline as the definition a missing word that’s already underlined.
18d ‘Zine on web covering oxygen generator (7)
MAGNETO: knit together another abbreviation for a ‘zine and another word for the worldwide web and follow that with the chemical symbol for oxygen.
19d Chapstick aggravated blip over a large mass (3,4)
LIP BALM: an anagram (aggravated) of BLIP followed by A and abbreviations for large and mass.
21d Plan of Winston’s home not showing well (5)
CHART: remove the ‘well’ from the name of Churchill’s home.
I ticked 18a, 2d and 21d but my favourite was the amusing 24a. Which clue(s) made your honours board?