Toughie No 2807 by Firefly
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ***
Thanks to Firefly for an enjoyable puzzle.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
1a Sweet spoils hero may initially grant (11)
MARSHMALLOW: string together a verb meaning spoils, the initial letters of Hero May and a verb to grant.
8a Depression, daughter admitted, can be merciless (4-7)
COLD-BLOODED: charade of a depression in the mountains, the genealogical abbreviation for daughter and a verb meaning admitted or initiated someone into an activity. Did anyone else start out by trying to justify ‘hearted’ for the second bit?
11a Skunk consuming some tomato ketchup (4)
ATOK: hidden in the clue is a species of skunk (the animal not the dope!). Not a word I knew.
12a Periodical laziness girl’s shrugged off (4)
ZINE: remove the girl from the word laziness.
13a Train voice (7)
EXPRESS: double definition – the first a noun and the second a verb.
15a Fabulous creature sappers in the end disinterred, retaining name: ‘Fabulous Creature‘ (7)
CENTAUR: make an anagram (fabulous) of CREATU[re] after you’ve removed the abbreviation for sappers at its end and insert the abbreviation for name.
16a Weapon oddly scabbarded (5)
SABRE: just the odd letters of the final word.
17a Container captain‘s caper (4)
SKIP: triple definition. Caper here is a verb.
18a Mark‘s wrong to accept Young’s tip (4)
SIGN: a moral wrong containing the last letter of young.
19a This plus insect flying around provokes apprentices daily (5)
PAPER: this is a compound anagram. An anagram (flying around) of the answer (i.e. this) plus INSECT produces APPRENTICES.
21a Quietly embellish account within advert (7)
PLACARD: start with our usual abbreviation for quietly and add a verb meaning to embellish (a talk or document with extra material) with the abbreviation for account inside it.
22a Spectacle cases years in long … (7)
PAGEANT: a synonym of years is contained in a verb to long or ache.
23a … fabricated cover lined with ermine’s tail (4)
LIED: a cover has inside it (is lined with) the tail letter of ermine.
26a Girl backing article by parson (4)
VERA: one of our indefinite articles and the abbreviated title of a parson all reversed.
27a Took counsel when brought back to gaol? (11)
DELIBERATED: cryptically, with the insertion of a hyphen perhaps, this could mean returned to gaol.
28a Set out urn and teapot, Ma, in case (11)
PORTMANTEAU: an anagram (set out) of URN TEAPOT MA.
2d Crazy morning, yes? (4)
AMOK: the usual abbreviation for in the morning and a short question hoping for an affirmative response.
3d Son’s on notice, with head getting grief (7)
SADNESS: splice together the genealogical abbreviation for son, an abbreviated notice and a head or promontory.
4d Powder in very small measure (4)
MILL: double definition – the first is a verb meaning to reduce something to powder and the second is a monetary amount equal to one tenth of a US cent.
5d Seek frantically after facilities for gander (4-3)
LOOK-SEE: an anagram (frantically) of SEEK follows an informal word for very necessary facilities.
6d Listen! You could be putting on weight! (4)
OYEZ: an old word for you is contained in an abbreviated imperial weight.
7d Drink flexibly — it’s essential for life (5,6)
WATER SUPPLY: stitch together what ‘the drink’ is an informal term for and an adverb meaning flexibly.
8d Get this straight — accept I’m old and confused! (11)
COMPLICATED: an anagram (get this straight) of ACCEPT IM OLD.
9d Shabby lad I titivated with very good old hat (11)
DILAPIDATED: assemble an anagram (titivated) of LAD I, an abbreviated adjective meaning very good (in a smarmy way) and an adjective meaning ‘old hat’.
10d Deterioration in sport — consequently a drop (4,3,4)
WEAR AND TEAR: a verb to sport, a conjunction meaning consequently and a drop secreted.
14d Hotchpotch of pitiful housing left uninhabited in centre (5)
SALAD: an adjective meaning pitiful contains the abbreviation for left and the central letter of uninhabited.
15d Equal rises to Charlie and Inch (5)
CREEP: reverse a word for an equal after the letter that Charlie is used for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.
19d Shot captures Ruby, first to tender bet (7)
PREDICT: a shot or photo contains a synonym of the falsely-capitalised ruby. Finish with the first letter of tender.
20d Rearing sheep, Dad closes in sylvan tract (7)
RAMPANT: paste together a sheep, an affectionate word for one’s dad and the closing letters of the last two words.
24d Stripped-down comedy coming up in March, perhaps? (4)
DEMO: remove the outer letters of comedy and reverse what’s left.
25d Second-class in tube train leaving Turin (4)
BETA: remove the letters of Turin from ‘tube train’ – there’s no need for an anagram indicator because the letters are in the correct order.
26d Leading light from Brussels area? (4)
VEGA: an abbreviation for what Brussels are an example of and the abbreviation for area.
The clue I liked best were 17a, 6d and 26d. Which one(s) met the criteria for your podium?