Toughie No 2815 by Giovanni
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment **
It wouldn’t be a Giovanni Toughie without a number of obscurities which, as usual, had me burrowing in my reference books. It’s not my preferred way of solving but Giovanni is unlikely to change his ways so we have to put up with it. Thanks to him.
I noticed two related fliers in corresponding positions in the grid but I can’t spot any other pairs – can you?
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
1a A school with a learner resembling a snake (6)
APODAL: join together A, a school (of fish perhaps), A again and our usual abbreviated learner to make an adjective meaning footless.
5a OU officials using security devices to capture lines going to party (8)
BULLDOGS: concealed security devices containing two abbreviations of line and a festive party. These officials at Oxford University were a sort of private police force, now abolished.
9a Seductive types — snatchers seen on the loose (13)
ENCHANTRESSES: an anagram (on the loose) of SNATCHERS SEEN.
10a Problem for patient with brain lesion — nurse keeps diagram with data (8)
AGRAPHIA: an alternative spelling of a nursemaid in India contains a diagram with data.
11a Place, one out of the way, by lake with aged stones (6)
STELAE: assemble a place or location without its Roman one and abbreviations for lake and aged.
12a Something steamy bloke reported (6)
GEYSER: a homophone of a bloke often preceded by ‘old’.
14a Murky ale is off — it may go to someone’s head (8)
YARMULKE: an anagram (is off) of MURKY ALE.
16a Like a rope cut off (8)
STRANDED: double definition, the first meaning plaited.
19a Bad feeling of indigenous Canadians keeping quiet (6)
CREEPS: members of a North American tribe containing the musical abbreviation for quiet.
21a Man of principle wanting little son to be safe, safe, … (6)
PETERS: the ***** principle states that “in a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence” (how true that is in our politics – arise Sir Gavin Williamson). Add the genealogical abbreviation for son to the name to get more than one safe.
23a Fossil of an arachnid one day found lying hidden (8)
AMMONITE: A and a small arachnid contain an abbreviated day of the week.
25a Sue’s romancing upset members of the family (7-6)
COUSINS-GERMAN: an anagram (upset) of SUES ROMANCING. Not a term I’ve ever come across.
26a Christian possibly felt awkward with praise losing core element (8)
FLETCHER: this is a mutinous Christian. Follow an anagram (awkward) of FELT with a verb to praise without its central letter.
27a Worry not about language (6)
TONGAN: glue together a verb to worry or pester and NOT, then reverse it all.
2d Paula, initially on the shelf, finally became fiancee? (7)
PLEDGEE: assemble the initial letter of Paula, a synonym of shelf and the final letter of became.
3d Bill baddie turned up in foreign city years ago (5)
DACCA: an abbreviated bill or invoice and a baddie or rotter all reversed provide the old spelling of the capital of Bangladesh.
4d Adult stuck in underground river embarrassed to be beaten (9)
LEATHERED: insert the film classification ‘adult’ into the name of a river in Hades and append the colour associated with embarrassment.
5d Little woman lands on an unknown place near Jerusalem (7)
BETHANY: assemble the name of one of the March sisters in ‘Little women’, AN and an algebraic unknown to give a town in the occupied West Bank.
6d Vegetables, glossy, beginning to droop (5)
LEEKS: an adjective meaning glossy with its first letter drooping to the bottom. Good luck to Wales in the game against France tomorrow evening!
7d Lack of activity from guy eating last of the fatty food (9)
DESUETUDE: an informal, mainly American, name for a guy contains the last letter of ‘the’ and some fatty food. Another word I didn’t know.
8d Predator using open-mouthed stare to protect duck (not a sound!) (7)
GOSHAWK: a verb meaning to stare open-mouthed contains a crickety duck and an order to be silent.
13d Outfit that could be out of this world (9)
SPACESUIT: a weakish cryptic definition.
15d Lying about copper and maiden getting corrupt (9)
RECUMBENT: fuse together a preposition meaning about, the chemical symbol for copper, the cricket abbreviation for maiden and an informal adjective meaning corrupt or crooked.
17d Bird is a layer — 100 eggs laid for starters (7)
TIERCEL: start with a layer or bank and add the Roman number 100 and the starting letters of ‘eggs laid’.
18d Fund-raiser with no merriment contrived formal introduction (4,3)
DEAR SIR: remove the merriment from fund-raiser and make an anagram (contrived) of what remains.
20d Favourite place for students with a particular garden plant (7)
PETUNIA: knit together a synonym of favourite, an abbreviated institution where students go and A. I’m not sure whether particular here has any particular significance.
22d Smart coastal holiday region? Sort of! (5)
SWISH: the 2-letter regional location for England’s favourite holiday destination and a suffix meaning ‘sort of’.
24d Spirit of a Parisian revolutionary leading soldiers (5)
NUMEN: reverse one of the words Parisians use for ‘a’ and add some soldiers. Another word I didn’t know – Collins says it’s a deity or spirit presiding over a thing or place in ancient Roman religion.
The clues I liked best were 21a and 22d. Which one(s) made you chuffed?