Toughie No 2763 by Hudson
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty */** – Enjoyment ****
Many thanks to Hudson for a puzzle that’s great fun but not too tricky. I try to place the difficulty rating for a Toughie somewhere on the scale of the Toughies that we get, where Elgar would always be 5* and the puzzles we used to get from the likes of Busman in the distant past and Warbler more recently would be 1* – this one is very much towards the easier end on that scale.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
1a Coventry rider keen to get back after game (6)
GODIVA: reverse an adjective meaning keen after a Japanese game.
5a Back in Llandudno, bag a vintage Rover (8)
VAGABOND: hidden in reverse.
9a New Orleans? Pal, it can get pretty hot! (5,5)
SOLAR PANEL: an anagram (new) of ORLEANS PAL.
10a French 4 town by opening to enormous chasm (4)
GAPE: a French town in the 4d region (often visited by the Tour de France) followed by the opening letter of enormous. That reminds me – we haven’t heard from Jean-Luc for some time, I hope he’s ok.
11a Biscuit 23 unveils every now and again (8)
CRACKNEL: a synonym for 23a and the even letters of unveils.
12a Daughter rejected Yale, beginning to stack shelves (6)
DELAYS: string together the genealogical abbreviation for daughter, the reversal of Yale and the first letter of stack.
13a Cut willows back (4)
STAB: reverse the implements that willows are a word for in the sporting world. Not something we want to dwell on at the moment in the northern hemisphere.
15a A large bird — cuckoo — reflected in Nile landmark (5,3)
ASWAN DAM: string together A, a large bird and the reversal of an adjective meaning cuckoo or nuts.
18a Retiring QC: ‘Is Nero finally admitting this evidence in court?’ (8)
FORENSIC: hidden in reverse.
19a Unwrapping small pouch is a pain (4)
ACHE: remove the outer letters from a small sealed pouch.
21a Loan shark more confident United will come first (6)
USURER: a comparative meaning more confident is preceded by the abbreviation for United.
23a Conservative majority vote in 2016 involving a grand split (8)
CLEAVAGE: an abbreviation for Conservative and the side that won the majority in the 2016 vote in the UK containing A and the abbreviation for grand ($1,000).
25a Swedish actress slipping off Oscar outfit (4)
GARB: an old Swedish actress losing the letter that Oscar represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.
26a Son left holding revolting pet snake … it could get mum going up the wall! (10)
STEPLADDER: abbreviations for son and left contain the reversal of pet. That’s followed by a type of snake.
27a Online forum charm ‘too manufactured’ (4,4)
CHAT ROOM: an anagram (manufactured) of CHARM TOO.
28a In which it is reported Nureyev finally appears in designer label? (6)
PRAVDA: the final letter of Nureyev goes inside an Italian fashion brand to make a Russian newspaper.
2d German river’s pronounced smell (5)
ODOUR: this sounds like the name of a major German river.
3d Tetchy Gershwin’s upsetting the Spanish writer (9)
IRASCIBLE: start with the forename of one of the Gershwins together with the ‘S then join together a Spanish definite article and a make of ballpoint pen and reverse it.
4d Highland beer (about 426ml) (6)
ALPINE: a type of beer contains part of a pint. A full pint is approximately 568 millilitres so 426ml would be …
5d Very fresh nice calamari, line caught, European imported, popular dish (7,3,5)
VANILLA ICE CREAM: start with the abbreviation for very and add an anagram (fresh) of LINE CALAMARI containing abbreviations for line and European.
6d Swallow feathers seen after shoot heads north (4,4)
GULP DOWN: another word for feathers follows the reversal of a slang verb to shoot (and hit) with a firearm. I always thought the verb to shoot was a North American usage but neither Chambers nor Collins agree with me.
7d Bread roll using the French gas up (5)
BAGEL: paste together a French definite article and an informal verb to gas or chatter and reverse it all.
8d Discomfort one gets before going completely potty? (5,4)
NAPPY RASH: ‘one’ here is a toddler and the discomfort comes during the time before he/she is fully trained.
14d Prime minister getting Speaker’s cuppa (and what it soothes) (9)
TAOISEACH: this is the title of a European Prime Minister (a word I can never spell) and it sounds like homophones of a) a cuppa and b) the trauma that said liquid is said to be good for.
16d Buffet and tea OK, about five. Something stronger? (4,5)
NEAT VODKA: an anagram (buffet) of AND TEA OK containing the Roman numeral for five.
17d Leads in English Sunday papers: Old Italian Shot (8)
ESPRESSO: assemble the leading letters of English and Sunday, a general term for newspapers and the abbreviation for old.
20d Mate got married, keeled over creating a bit of a flap (6)
DEWLAP: glue together a synonym for mate and a verb meaning ‘got married’ then reverse it.
22d Mount ski lift touring American city (5)
RABAT: reverse a type of ski lift (1-3) containing an abbreviation for American.
24d Being of one mind to ignore adult vice (5)
GREED: an adjective meaning being of one mind or ‘seeing eye to eye’ without the film classification letter meaning adult.
There are lots of ticks on my printout including 8d, 14d (it’s very unusual for me to praise homophones but I liked this), 17d and 20d but my favourite was 23a. Which one(s) did it for you?