Toughie No 2751 by Beam
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty **** – Enjoyment ****
Beam has given us a puzzle where every clue contains something chess-related. He also references Beth Harmon the fictional heroine of the film The Queen’s Gambit, which I’m looking forward to seeing. A couple of the references are shoehorned in (e.g. 23a) but that doesn’t detract from what is a very accomplished feat, one which I enjoyed a lot.
I found it quite tough, especially the SE corner. Thanks to Beam for the challenge.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
1a Present check issue taking turn with Queen (12)
CHARACTERISE: the chess abbreviation for check and a verb to issue or ensue contain a turn (on stage) and the Queen’s regnal cipher.
9a Move round back rank (9)
REARRANGE: charade of a noun meaning back and a verb to rank or put in order.
10a City initially had an International Federation arena (5)
HAIFA: initial letters.
11a Bad advanced Bishop advanced (6)
ADDLED: assemble the abbreviation for advanced, the abbreviation for someone having a postgraduate degree in spiritual matters (bishop?) and a verb meaning advanced or moved ahead.
12a Engine, perhaps, forbidden support for pieces (8)
OUTBOARD: an adverb meaning forbidden and what provides support for chess pieces.
13a More subtle to trap King or pound? (6)
NICKER: a comparative meaning more subtle or more nuanced contains the chess abbreviation for king.
15a Winning pawn having right to occupy (8)
PLEASING: the abbreviation for pawn followed by a present participle meaning ‘having the right to occupy’.
18a Race chasing Rook one’s given (8)
DONATION: a synonym of race or people follows a verb to rook or swindle.
19a Almost behind keeping last Knight’s archaic cover? (6)
[RD informs us that the word ‘archaic’ is missing from the paper version. That doesn’t affect the parsing]
TABERD: an adjective meaning behind or late without its final Y contains a verb to last or remain. The question mark indicates that this is an alternative spelling of the old garment.
21a Contend with one brilliant in final check (8)
MILITATE: insert the Roman numeral for one and an adjective meaning brilliant or illuminated in the final check in a chess game.
23a Scrap over display for Queen? (6)
TATTOO: knit together a word for scrap or worthless odds and ends and an adverb meaning over or excessively.
26a Suffer vacuous Indian game clubs put around (5)
INCUR: start with the outer letters of Indian and add the reversal of the abbreviation for a team game and the cards abbreviation for clubs.
27a Open file clinching Harmon’s first defeat (9)
OVERTHROW: an adjective meaning open or plain to see and a synonym for file or column contain the first letter of Harmon.
28a Rook deftly captures Rook on flank, remarkably (12)
CONSIDERABLY: a verb to rook and an adverb meaning deftly contain a synonym for flank and the abbreviation for rook.
1d Hanging pawn’s last after sharp champion (7)
CURTAIN: the last letter of pawn follows an adjective meaning sharp or terse and an abbreviation that looks like champion or supreme.
2d Trophy battle constrained by a draw’s opening (5)
AWARD: a serious battle is held between A and the first letter of draw.
3d Deal a hail trapping pieces (9)
AGREEMENT: A and a verb to hail or welcome contain another word for chess pieces.
4d Strike King, finally showing sharpness (4)
TANG: a verb to strike or beat and the final letter of king.
5d King helpfully losing second with regret (8)
RUEFULLY: start with an abbreviation for king and add an adverb meaning helpfully or valuably without its second letter (or, alternatively, without the abbreviation for second).
6d Favouritism overturned holding hard title (5)
SAHIB: the reverse of a word meaning favouritism or partiality contains the pencil abbreviation for hard.
7d Resolve reportedly more brilliant positions son’s advanced (8)
FINALISE: a homophone (to some people) of a comparative meaning more brilliant or more splendid is followed by ball positions on the golf course with the abbreviation for son brought forward.
8d Power with mate upset devoted follower (6)
LAPDOG: combine a supposedly divine power and a synonym for a mate and reverse it all.
14d Battle about playing, caught in move (8)
CONFLICT: a single-letter abbreviation for about, an adverb meaning playing and an informal move (in moonlight perhaps) containing the cricket abbreviation for caught.
16d White sadly retired over capturing a Bishop (9)
ALABASTER: an exclamation meaning sadly and the reversal of the abbreviation for retired contain A and the chess abbreviation for bishop.
17d Tempers involving Knight turn oddly for checks (8)
CONTROLS: a verb meaning tempers or tones down contains the chess abbreviation for knight and the odd letters of turn.
18d Prepare central King’s territory maybe (6)
DOMAIN: paste together a verb to prepare (a meal perhaps) and an adjective meaning central or principal.
20d Move irregularly, cross getting comeuppance in opening (7)
DOORWAY: yoke together a verb to move irregularly at sea and a cross in church and reverse it all.
22d Middle of match with roughly unfinished form (5)
TORSO: the middle letter of match and a phrase meaning roughly (2,2).
24d Beth robbed, partly getting beat (5)
THROB: our sole hidden word.
25d Take off some important pieces? (4)
GELD: this was my last answer and I had what pommers would call a tea tray moment when I realised what it was. It’s a verb to remove a couple of important male bits.
I ticked 15a and 20d but my favourite was the LOL 25d. Which one(s) did the business for you?