Sunday Toughie 14 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 14

Sunday Toughie No 14 by Robyn

Review by Sloop John Bee

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This puzzle was published on the 1st of May 2022

1a    Dodged heartless enemies, like Batman? (7)
ESCAPED: The outer letters of enemies ES, + how Batman chooses to attire himself CAPED
Heartless tells us to remove the heart of E nemie S, in this case, like Batman? should suggest what this crusader is known for wearing. That leaves the first word as the definition.

5a    Clubs going through a good patch in match (7)
CONFORM: C for clubs and a good patch of form in a sporting match ON FORM.

9a    Egyptian maybe more cheerful deposing monarch (5)
SUNNI: The comparative of a cheerful or sunny disposition SUNNIER, loses our monarchs regnal ciper ER. Sunni 1 singular noun the more orthodox of the two main branches of the Islamic religion and the predominant sect in Egypt.

10a    Was a ham stuffed, eating cold starter for dinner? (9)
OVERACTED: A synonym of stuffed at the dinner table perhaps OVERATE, contains (eating) C for cold and the starter of Dinner. ham2 nouncolloq 1 theat a a bad actor, especially one who overacts or exaggerates.

11a    It’s not the main change at rare packing company (5,5)
TERRA FIRMA: a partial anagram of AT RARE and a synonym of company FIRM, A little bit of Latin here. Main here is a noun for the wet bits of the planet, we seek the Latin for the dry bits (It’s not). Change is the anagrind, AT RARE is the fodder and it is packing in a synonym of company.

12a    Cycling around African country’s capital (4)
LIMA; “cycling” clues can be a bit tricky as I never know exactly how many letters are cycled from the front to the back. Here we start with an African country MALI and “cycle” the first two letters to the back, LIMA to become the Capital city of Peru

14a    Get serious spite about setter on public transport (4,8)
MEAN BUSINESS: An eight letter synonym of spite MEANNESS surrounds some public transport BUS and the setter’s personal pronoun I. MEAN BUS I NESS

18a    At times back in love, really get mushy about love (5,2,5)
EVERY SO OFTEN: A bit of lego here. The back letter of love E, a synonym of really VERY, followed by a word for mushy SOFTEN, around the letter that looks like love in tennis scoring O. E VERY S O OFTEN

21a    One put in charge briefly for Labour (4)
TOIL: A charge or TOLL loses its last letter L and inserts the letter that looks like 1. toil1 verb (toiledtoilingintrans 1 to work long and hard; to labour.

22a    Boxer defending position completely still (4-6)
ROCK STEADY: at the time of solving the fictional Rocky Bilbao was the first boxer that came to mind, I apologise to the eponymous real Rocky’s, Marciano and Graziano. Rocky surrounds (defending) stead noun (usually in someone’s stead) in place of them. ETYMOLOGY: Anglo-Saxon stede place or position.

25a    Impress one doing a sentence by hand (9)
CONSCRIPT: Someone doing a sentence behind bars perhaps CON and writing by hand SCRIPT. conscript verb (conscriptedconscripting) to enlist (or impress upon) for compulsory military service. noun someone who has been conscripted. conscription noun.

26a    Tennis champion thus going around with alias (5)
OSAKA: Apologies to the tennis champion for not knowing Naomi Osaka, but the clue was easy enough to solve. A synonym of thus SO, is reversed (going around) and the acronym for an alias AKA (also known as)

27a    King in dubious history losing face — Richard III? (7)
YORKIST: The chess notation for King K, goes in an anagram(dubious) of hISTORY without its facing letter, YORKIST, Richard III was the most prominent Yorkist but the question mark allows others.
This Son of York (well I live there) would have preferred to see him here, rather than the car park he was found under. But York’s loss is Leicester’s gain.

28a    Jeer receiving writer’s tip for facetious title (3,4)
HIS NIBS: A mock title for a self-important person. The noise an audience makes when a performance is overacted perhaps HISS, surrounds the tip of a writer’s instrument, NIB


1d    Fixed rates as well as variable, not the real thing (6)
ERSATZ: An anagram (fixed) of RATES and one of the mathematical variables Z for a substitute for the real thing. ersatz derog adj substitute; imitation. noun (ersatzes) a cheaper substitute, often used because the genuine article is unavailable.
ETYMOLOGY: Late 19c: German.

2d    Name a Republican, boring rotter, making fake news (6)
CANARD: A rotter CAD, surrounds N for name, A from the clue, and R for republican for fake news or a lie. canard noun 1 a false report or piece of news; a rumour, hoax, etc.



3d    Tommy periodically retypes periodical (7,3)
PRIVATE EYE: The lowest rank in the army (from Tommy Atkins the poem by Kipling) His rank PRIVATE and the even letters (periodically) of rEtYpEs PRIVATE EYE A periodical published fortnightly that satirises political figures and others and has a pretty devious crossword.

4d    Attractive policeman dresses in loincloth (5)
DHOTI: A temperature-based adjective for attractive HOT, is dressed in a Detective Inspector D. I. dhoti or dhooti noun (dhotis or dhootis) a garment worn by some Hindu men, consisting of a long strip of cloth wrapped around the waist and between the legs.
ETYMOLOGY: 17c: Hindi.

5d    Sweet food, English jam sandwiches, given hype (5,4)
CREAM PUFF: This synonym of jam in the pack tightly sense CRAM, stuffs in an E for English and some fluffy advertising hype PUFF.

6d    News about those who keep dry bread (4)
NAAN: Two N’s for news (2 because it’s plural) surround AA (members of Alcoholics Anonymous rather than the Automobile Association) who abstain from booze (keep dry) for some Indian bread.

7d    One’s excluded work or duties (8)
OUTSIDER: One who is excluded is an anagram of OR DUTIES.

8d    Fool admitted to dodgy drama school for believers (8)
MADRASSA: A synonym of fool ASS, goes in an anagram of DRAMA. A Muslim school, college, or university that is often part of a mosque. Usually spelt with just one S but I did find the 2 letter alternative in at least one dictionary (Merriam-Webster)

13d    Profligate, having large liabilities including tiny sum in America (10)
LICENTIOUS: L for large, the smallest bit of American coinage CENT, and one’s debts I.O.U.S. A thesaurus may be useful here as I found the definition listed the answer we seek. licentious
debauched, dissolute, dissipated, depraved, decadent, profligate, lascivious, immoral, abandoned, lewd, lecherous, promiscuous, libertine, impure, lax, lustful, disorderly, wanton, unchaste
ANTONYM modest, chaste

15d    Producer of coinage is let go? No, sacked! (9)
NEOLOGIST: an anagram (sacked) of IS LET GO NO. A NEOLOGIST is one who coins new words rather than the coins in the previous clue. neologism noun 1 a new word or expression. 2 a new meaning acquired by an existing word or expression. 3 the practice of coining or introducing neologisms. neologist nounneologistic or neologistical adjneologize or neologise verb (neologizedneologizing) to introduce new words; to coin neologisms.
ETYMOLOGY: Early 19c: from French néologisme, from neo- + Greek logos word.

16d    Part of US county blessed, overlooking lake (8)
KENTUCKY: An English county KENT and a synonym of blessed LUCKY without L for lake, is one of the constituent parts of the U.S.

17d    One starting booze, drinking booze before noon (8)
BEGINNER: two different alcoholic drinks, BEER contains (drinking) GIN around N for Noon BE GIN N ER

19d    Excursion is returning, touring a long way away (6)
SAFARI: A long way away or AFAR surrounded by a reversal (returning) of IS. safari noun (safaris1 an expedition excursion or tour to hunt or observe wild animals, especially in Africa.

20d    Brittany on vacation? I don’t know the way round (6)
BYPASS: The outer letters of BrittanY (on vacation) goes around the response to the question master on Mastermind when one doesn’t know the answer.

23d    Wiping up sauce boat (5)
KETCH: A sauce that many put on chips ( not in this household HP or nothing here) KETCHup wipes off the last 2 letters for a small boat.

24d    Berry turned into aphrodisiac artfully (4)
ACAI: Today’s lurker is reverse (turned into) the rest of the clue, supposedly an Amazonian superfood.