Toughie No 2811 by proXimal
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****
proXimal is one of my favourite setters. Thanks to him for an enjoyable and X-less puzzle.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
1a Swimmer hit, intercepted by men on board boat (7,5)
BASKING SHARK: a verb to hit hard contains men on a board. Finish with a rescue boat.
9a Church claim to collect new tax (9)
CHALLENGE: stick together an abbreviation for church and a verb to claim or insinuate containing N(ew).
10a Home in France destructive creature stripped (5)
FOCUS: the IVR code for France precedes a destructive winged creature without its outer letters.
11a Reportedly pick up purchase with this (6)
HEREBY: this sounds like verbs to pick up or ‘get wind of’ and to purchase.
12a Part of organ having infection, spot in peer’s heart (4,4)
FLUE PIPE: assemble an abbreviated winter infection and the central letters of ‘peer’ containing a spot or star-like insignia.
13a Scullery-maid casually cutting last bit of lemon for drinks (6)
CIDERS: the informal name of a pantomime scullery-maid loses the last letter of lemon.
15a Dreamer ordered spacesuit, ditching uniform (8)
ESCAPIST: an anagram (ordered) of SPACES[u]IT without the letter that uniform represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.
18a Play that’s funny by epic writer (8)
HAMILTON: an exclamation expressing amusement and a 17th century English poet. This quotation from the poet may hold a lesson for Mr Putin:
By force, hath overcome but half his foe.
19a Ingratiate oneself backing society with informal agreement (4,2)
COSY UP: reverse an abbreviation for society and add an informal way of saying ‘yes’.
21a Batter around second-rate fish showing veiny appearance (8)
MARBLING: reverse a verb to batter or crash into and add the letter used to mean second-rate and a favourite Crosswordland fish.
23a Stray is pale with colour coming back (6)
WANDER: rivet together an adjective meaning pale and the reversal of a primary colour.
26a On which people are putting young (5)
GREEN: double definition, the second could refer to young fruit or it could mean inexperienced.
27a English player Paul regularly coached about budget (9)
ECONOMISE: string together an abbreviation for English, the surname of Paul the American musician and songwriter and regular letters from ‘coached’. Now reverse it all.
28a Likely culprit with pies and crumpets going walkabout (5,7)
PRIME SUSPECT: an anagram (going walkabout) of PIES CRUMPETS. Lovely anagram indicator!
1d Drunk smart to follow after vehicle turned up (7)
BACCHIC: an adjective meaning smart or stylish follows the reversal of a road vehicle.
2d Good person on carriage is one in flight (5)
STAIR: our usual abbreviated good person and a synonym of carriage or demeanour.
3d Being overturned, declare bill is partly prejudiced (9)
ILLIBERAL: hidden in reverse.
4d Become pregnant (4)
GONE: double definition. The word for pregnant appeared very recently and led to what the late Mrs Merton used to call a mass debate so I’m anticipating a few comments on this one.
5d Uncaring ambassador put on eastern robe after changing sides (8)
HEEDLESS: knit together the abbreviated title of an ambassador, the abbreviation for eastern and a synonym of gown with one of the letters therein changed to the opposite side.
6d Not opening, toy gun (5)
RIFLE: a verb to toy without its opening letter.
7d Unusually, Vatican City needing no prison industry (8)
ACTIVITY: remove the slang word for prison from Vatican City and make an anagram (unusually) of what’s left over.
8d Definitely tell when Frenchman’s very upset (6)
ASSERT: a synonym for when and the reversal of the French word for ‘very’.
14d Did adopting the Euro make Germans so limited? (8)
DEMARKED: cryptically how the introduction of the Euro took away Germany’s old currency.
16d Hand woman blouse — being totally uncovered is irregular (9)
ANOMALOUS: remove the outer letters from the first three words.
17d Model makers cut each minute tree (8)
HORNBEAM: a British company most famous for its model trains loses its last letter and is followed by abbreviations for each and minute.
18d Respect journal article for gardening circles (6)
HOMAGE: the abbreviation for a journal or glossy is contained in something used by gardeners.
20d Warning after blending Iberian wines (7)
PORTENT: join together a wine from Portugal and one from Spain then remove one instance of the double letter at the centre.
22d Vessel capsized on duck (5)
LINER: paste together a preposition meaning on or about and what a crickety duck means and reverse it all.
24d Thrust plunger with water ultimately rising (5)
DRIVE: start with someone or something that plunges and move the ultimate letter of water up a few places.
25d Bad reaction from alcohol, reportedly (4)
BOOS: a sound-alike clue.
The clues I liked best were 13a, 8d, 16d and 20d. Which one(s) met with your approval?