Toughie No 2795 by Giovanni
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ***
It wouldn’t be a Giovanni Toughie without a few obscurities – I didn’t know either the sages, the poor conductor or the shrub. Thanks to Giovanni for the puzzle.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
1a Biased message getting jolly good inspection, as some might say (10)
PROPAGANDA: stick together homophones (for some people) of a) an adjective meaning jolly good and b) a slang term for an inspection or glance.
6a First to be bumped off in sinful situation (4)
ABEL: I spent more time on this clue than the rest of the puzzle combined. On the face of it it is just a not terribly cryptic definition of the first murder victim in the Old Testament but I tried to justify it also being Babel without its first letter. However my research seems to suggest that this place and its associated tower was a situation of confusion rather than sin. Perhaps someone with more interest in the Old Testament than I have could explain.
9a Book / someone who could help grand player? (4-6)
PAGE-TURNER: double definition, the grand being a type of piano.
10a British beast — one in a pack? (4)
BRAT: an abbreviation for British and a small animal. The pack was a group of Hollywood actors.
12a Like Sibelius, but with only half the notes perfect? (6)
FINISH: the nationality of Sibelius but with only one of the abbreviations for note.
13a Mess in settee least likely to be noticed? (8)
TEENIEST: an anagram (mess) of IN SETTEE.
15a The age of sages? A waiting time maybe (6,6)
LATENT PERIOD: split the answer 4,2,6 to get the age when these Jewish sages operated. See Fez’s comment at #2 for a better explanation of the clue.
18a Account given for reduced Information Technology? The situation can’t be improved! (2,2,4,2,2)
IT IS WHAT IT IS: a possible response to a request for the abbreviation of Information Technology.
21a Difficulty about bright criminal’s activity (8)
BURGLARY: reverse a word meaning difficulty and add an adjective meaning bright or dazzling.
22a Overcoat dad folded over in shelter (6)
CAPOTE: reverse an affectionate word for dad and insert it in an avian shelter.
24a Jump and cut loose initially (4)
AXEL: a verb to cut or chop and the initial letter of loose. Very timely with the Winter Olympics just starting!
25a Second female I call may be making a lot of noise (10)
BACKFIRING: string together a verb to second or endorse, the abbreviation for female, I and a verb to make a call.
26a God of old to make discordant noise (4)
ODIN: the abbreviation for old and a verb to make a discordant noise.
27a Mechanical device consumed distilled liquid — the guy admits that (4,6)
HEAT ENGINE: a masculine pronoun (the guy) contains a past participle meaning consumed and some distilled alcoholic liquid.
1d Very loud repetitive work coming up? Escape! (3,3)
POP OFF: assemble the musical abbreviation for very loud and a double dose of the abbreviation for an artistic work and reverse the lot.
2d Men sang out — we may have heard them rendering hymns (6)
ORGANS: the abbreviation for some military men and an anagram (out) of SANG.
3d Sell water in a novel water container (8,4)
ARTESIAN WELL: an anagram (novel) of SELL WATER IN A.
4d Area / where religions clashed (4)
ACRE: double definition, the second a port (now in Israel) where the Christians and Muslims clashed during the Crusades.
5d Poor conductor to fail with terrible recital, no ace with music ultimately (10)
DIELECTRIC: knit together a verb to fail or conk out, an anagram (terrible) of RECIT[a]L without the abbreviation for ace and the ultimate letter of music. The answer (not a word I knew) is a substance which is a poor conductor of electricity.
7d Shrub African Muslim established on island (8)
BERBERIS: a Muslim from North Africa sits on top of one of the abbreviations for island.
8d Two at the top of height confused — allowance must be made (8)
LATITUDE: switch around the top two letters of a word meaning height.
11d Breeding technique in half the country? (12)
INSEMINATION: charade of IN and words meaning half and country.
14d Send home agent at speed — one in hiding (10)
REPATRIATE: bolt together an abbreviated sales agent, AT and a word meaning speed containing the Roman numeral for one.
16d Hilarious person wasting time given cheer in river (3,5)
RIO BRAVO: an informal word for a hilarious person without the abbreviation for time and a word of cheer or congratulation. The river is in Mexico.
17d Ex-PM‘s dodgy deal is dire at heart (8)
DISRAELI: an anagram (dodgy) of DEAL IS [d]IR[e].
19d Old coins with slanted marks (6)
SOLIDI: double definition, the first old Roman coins which supplied the middle one of the three words for our pre-decimal money (Lsd).
20d Union officer separating from fellow at work (6)
LEAGUE: remove the abbreviation for a senior army officer from a fellow worker.
23d Ray’s not finishing game (4)
SKAT: drop the final E from a fish of the ray family to leave a card game.
The clues I liked best were 10a, 18a and 11d. Which one(s) cut the mustard for you?