Toughie No 2827 by Sparks
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****
It’s been some considerable time since I had the pleasure of blogging a Sparks production so I was delighted to find him appearing on a Thursday. Thanks to him for the enjoyment.
He usually includes a Nina or similar in his grids. The only thing I can see here is a phrase in the centre of the top and bottom rows describing what passengers may do on boarding a plane. If you’ve spotted anything else do let me know.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
1a Summits freeze in mountain range out of Lima (6)
APICES: insert a verb to freeze into a mountain range without the letter that Lima is used for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.
5a Store dropping top bargain on which bangers can be picked up? (3,5)
TOW TRUCK: stick together a verb to store or put away without its first letter and a verb to bargain or barter.
9a Crude example of woolly person craving rapid downfall (4,6)
BASE JUMPER: charade of an adjective meaning crude or squalid and an example of a woolly.
10a Split in favour of king (4)
FORK: a preposition meaning ‘in favour of’ and the chess abbreviation for king.
11a Type of hospital Sacks recalled (8)
SANSERIF: an abbreviated hospital and the reversal of a verb meaning sacks. I can never see this word, especially given tomorrow’s date, without remembering the Guardian’s famous spoof.
12a Usher drove round mall, oddly detached (6)
HERALD: a drove or group of animals containing the even letters of mall.
13a Sharpness shown by wimp welcoming husband (4)
WHET: a wimp, using Mrs Thatcher’s word for a Tory with a social conscience, containing the genealogical abbreviation for husband.
15a Use most of month spanning a November evening for celebration (8)
HOGMANAY: start with a verb to use most of and add a month containing A and the letter November represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.
18a Unwrapped Lilian Gold’s fresh flowers (8)
GLADIOLI: an anagram (fresh) of [L]ILIA[n] GOLD.
19a Job lot at an end — make inquiries (4)
TASK: the final letter of lot and a verb to make enquiries.
21a On time, put back canopy (6)
TESTER: string together a preposition meaning on or concerning, the abbreviation for time and a verb to put or place. Now reverse it all.
23a Who will make you live without imaginary demon? (8)
EXORCIST: a verb to live containing a malevolent creature from literature.
25a Student entering empty gorge (4)
GLUT: our usual student goes into a verb to empty or eviscerate.
26a Actors, maybe American guys, pressing sister about ring (5,5)
AGENT NOUNS: an abbreviation for American and posh guys contain a religious sister wrapped round the ring-shaped letter.
27a Screwed hinge tab secured (2,3,3)
IN THE BAG: an anagram (screwed) of HINGE TAB.
28a Might it show going rate? (6)
SPEEDO: an abbreviated instrument that displays how fast you’re going.
2d Marketplace name turned aside in original strategy? (5)
PLAZA: start with an original strategy (4,1) and turn the abbreviation for name through 90 degrees onto its side.
3d See doctor tweaked preserved deal, say? (9)
CREOSOTED: an anagram (tweaked) of SEE DOCTOR.
4d Fair question in division that’s not hard (6)
SQUARE: insert an abbreviation for question into a division or allotment without the pencil abbreviation for hard.
5d Chief protégé bit off small part that’s visible (3,2,3,7)
TIP OF THE ICEBERG: an anagram (off) of CHIEF PROTÉGÉ BIT.
6d Ugly pigs turn sheepish, finally dividing trifle up (8)
WARTHOGS: insert a turn (in a board game, say) and the final letter of sheepish into a trifle or something of little value then reverse it all.
7d More prevalent line shunned by robber (5)
RIFER: a robber or pillager without the abbreviation for line.
8d Lots of vehicles crushing little creature, going around 50 (9)
CARTLOADS: types of road vehicles contain a smallish amphibian which in turn contains the Roman numeral for 50.
14d Peak hilly even when one is left wandering (9)
HELVELLYN: change the i of hilly to the abbreviation for left then make an anagram (wandering) of HLLLY EVEN. The answer is a peak in the Lake District (and the third-highest mountain in England).
16d Vegetable lorry with unopened throttle (9)
ARTICHOKE: glue together a big lorry and a verb to throttle without its opening letter.
17d Fret over having stoppage in post (8)
DOORJAMB: reverse a verb to fret or agonize about something containing a stoppage or congestion.
20d Ways unrestrained press covers court ruling (6)
ROUTES: the inner letters of press contain a court ruling (these days often confirmed by Hawkeye).
22d Tiny bird taps wee chappie (5)
TITCH: concatenate a tiny bird and the legend on your bathroom taps.
24d Council assumes holding yard should be erected (5)
SYNOD: a verb meaning assumes or puts on contains the abbreviation for yard, Now reverse it all.
The clues I liked best were 5a, 9a and 23a. Which one(s) made your hit list?