Toughie No 2779 by Firefly
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ***
Stephen L is lucky to have some sun in South Devon because here in the North of the County it’s a horribly wet, cold day.
It’s Firefly on duty today (thanks to him) and he’s given us a reasonably gentle puzzle including a fairly high anagram count. There is a sort of theme as explained in 25d.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
1a In a state, cats set off with Shamus (13)
MASSACHUSETTS: an anagram (off) of CATS SET SHAMUS.
9a Investigating facilities with ruler, Andy’s thwarted initially (7,2)
LOOKING AT: stick together an informal British word for the “facilities” and a male ruler and finish with the initial letters of Andy’s and thwarted.
10a Cheers may emerge from venue, I daresay, on reflection (5)
ADIEU: hidden in reverse.
11a Month I lay naked in the shade (5)
SEPIA: assemble the short form of a calendar month, I and lAy stripped of its covering.
12a Jerry’s 25 sounds perfect (4)
HOLE: homophone of an adjective meaning perfect or intact.
13a Twice self-employed in cultural unit (4)
MEME: two pronouns that Firefly would use of himself are employed to produce the answer. If this clue featured in a Rookie Corner puzzle it would probably get a “Some editors don’t …” comment from Prolixic.
15a Apart from one, trainees developed promise (7)
EARNEST: an anagram (developed) of TRA[i]NEES without the letter resembling one.
17a Fruit, two-thirds produced in south (7)
RAISINS: start with two-thirds of a verb meaning produced or evoked and append IN and the abbreviation for south.
18a Field-guide displays footwear (7)
GHILLIE: two meanings, both Scottish. Chambers doesn’t recognise the second but it’s in Collins and the ODE as a type of shoe with laces along the instep, used in Scottish country dancing.
20a Joy‘s sidelight is going west, going west! (7)
DELIGHT: the reversal (going west) of IS disappears (going west) from sidelight.
21a Police ultimately detain grass (4)
LAWN: a word (normally preceded by ‘the’) for the police is followed by the ultimate letter of detain.
22a Joins in midweek? (4)
WEDS: double definition, the first a verb meaning joins or unites.
23a Faculty‘s just outside Lima (5)
FLAIR: an adjective meaning just or unbiased contains the letter that Lima represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.
26a Overcome with locusts regularly at party (5)
OUTDO: regular letters from locusts and a festive party.
27a Underworld boss’s tailless old plane maybe given to tycoon (9)
PLUTOCRAT: the god of the underworld in Greek mythology followed by an informal word for an old plane without its last letter.
28a Trees Basil damaged he and daughter made good again (2-11)
RE-ESTABLISHED: an anagram (damaged) of TREES BASIL followed by HE and the genealogical abbreviation for daughter.
1d For fuel economy, this writer’s backing the French over tricky longer lap (5,3,6)
MILES PER GALLON: the reversal of “this writer’s” and one of the French definite articles precede an anagram (tricky) of LONGER LAP.
2d Exclusive store found below end of bypass (5)
SCOOP: the short name of a UK grocery store (usually written with a hyphen) once famous for its “divi” follows the last letter of bypass.
3d Chum’s introduced to lady in pants showing vivacity (10)
ANIMATEDLY: a synonym of chum goes inside an anagram (pants) of LADY IN.
4d One clashes with snob (4-3)
HIGH-HAT: double definition, the second an informal term for someone who puts on airs.
5d I may include last cutting from hazel in planter (7)
SETTLER: what Firefly is professionally contains the final letter of hazel.
6d Carriage factor’s looking up (4)
TRAP: reverse another word for a factor or component.
7d Ruling out of overfishing could be smashing (9)
SHIVERING: an anagram (could be) of [o]VER[f]ISHING with ‘of’ removed. The answer means ‘breaking into fragments’ – this meaning used in the exclamation ‘****** me timbers!’.
8d Getting dangerously full, feed on substitute mainly, refined and graded (14)
SUPERSATURATED: string together a verb to feed or eat, a word meaning substitute without its final Z, the letter used to mean refined and a verb meaning graded or assessed.
14d Glassware in factory fire — oil mostly involved (10)
MILLEFIORI: start with a word for a factory and add an anagram (involved) of FIRE OI[l].
16d Puddle contents getting artist immersed? (9)
RAINWATER: our usual recognised artist followed by a way (2,5) of saying immersed.
19d Peacock’s marking vacant essay on obscure poets (3-4)
EYE-SPOT: the outer letters of essay and an anagram (obscure) of POETS.
20d Dry up with Mr James in muddle (7)
DISTURB: reverse a word meaning dry or unsweetened and the forename of Mr James the ‘Carry on’ actor then reverse it all.
24d It’s awful, half the content of charity sale going to Grand Hotel (5)
AARGH: the second half of a word for a charity sale followed by the abbreviation for grand (i.e. $1000) and the letter for which hotel is used in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.
25d Stop the setter in Habitat — this could be stolen from 1ac, 15, 18, 23, 2, 5 or 7 (4)
HOME: a short instruction to stop and the pronoun the setter uses to refer to himself (as previously seen in 13a). The answers to the clues referenced here all contain an example of the answer (one is repeated).
The clue I liked best was 20a. Which one(s) did it for you?