Toughie No 2932 by Sparks
Hints and tips by Dutch
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment *****
Brrr, getting cold and raining. Poor dogs are shivering too, they had a haircut yesterday. Now that they can see, they are being silly and leaping around all over the place, just the distraction you need when blogging. At some point I’m going to have to switch on the heating. Let’s hope for a warm winter with Saharan breezes. Today’s puzzle is a smooth and enjoyable solve, much helped by the pangram and the 5-letter word gimmick (which gave me my first 8 entries right of the bat). Clever of Sparks to include both devices. I did need my trusty Chambers.
Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.
1a Flower needing unlimited control (5)
ASTER: Take a 7-letter word meaning control and remove the end letters (unlimited)
4a Rowan‘s sensitive smile (9)
QUICKBEAM: A word that can mean sensitive (Chambers def. 6) and another word for smile. The pangram helped me here.
9a Riding coat fashionable with European empress (9)
JOSEPHINE: A 6-letter riding coat, a 2-letter word meaning fashionable plus the abbreviation for European
10a Brief row over minute cuts (5)
REMIT: The reversal (over) of a word meaning row is cut by the abbreviation for minute
11a Old boat, one of those facilitating growth in loads of estates, say (7)
CARRACK: When split (3,4), we have a device that allows you to increase the load when travelling by estate, for example (say)
12a Urge into said subjective consciousness (7)
INCENSE: A preposition meaning into, plus a homophone (said) of a word for subjective consciousness
13a Overwhelm lung, faltering in condition (6)
INGULF: An anagram (faltering) of LING inside a 2-letter condition
15a Glaswegian coppers thoroughly embracing hard work to improve (6,2)
POLISH UP: How one might say coppers with a Scottish accent, plus a short word that can mean ‘thoroughly embracing hard work’ as in ‘ready for it’ (I think)
18a Former vessel one with intelligence reported west of Channel Island (5,3)
NOAH’S ARK: A homophone (reported) of a 6-letter word meaning ‘one with intelligence’ comes before (west of) a Channel Island.
20a Head over after a handsome young guy (6)
APOLLO: A word meaning head plus the abbreviation for over comes after A from the clue
23a Bears twin daughters, one dunked in river (7)
TEDDIES: Two times (twin) the abbreviation for daughter plus the Roman numeral for one go inside (dunked in) a river in the NE.
24a Scout company with more secure netting (7)
SCOURER: The abbreviation for company has a word meaning ‘more secure’ around it (netting)
26a Desert flag Mike brought back (5)
MERIT: A reversal (brought back) of a word meaning to flag with the letter with radio code Mike
27a Lacking training, delivers supply across lake (3-6)
ILL-VERSED: An anagram (supply) of DELIVERS goes around (across) the abbreviation for lake
28a Once, neat dig written about her loose covers for bookbinding style (9)
ROXBURGHE: A 2-letter ‘neat’ (where neat is an old word hence once – an editorial change?) plus a reversal of a 4-letter word meaning to dig are covered by an anagram (loose) of HER. One I had to check in the dictionary.
29a Artist composed having reversed charges (5)
RATES: An abbreviation for an artist plus a reversal (having reversed) of a word meaning composed
1d Casting out argument against raising level of leader? (9)
ABJECTION: Take a 9-letter word meaning ‘argument against’, then “raise the level” of the first letter (leader). The levels are school levels, though I don’t think the lower one is still used.
2d Stunning form of apprehension 25 brought up (5)
TASER: A reversal (brought up) of the answer to 25, and a clue to the 5-letter word gimmick
3d Artist from Praha forged article of Picasso? (7)
RAPHAEL: An anagram (forged) of PRAHA plus a Spanish (of Picasso) article
4d Unconventional exam opener tricky in parts (ii), (v) and (vi)? (6)
QUIRKY: A (2,1) ‘exam opener’ plus parts (ii), (v) and (vi) of the word ‘tricky’
5d Anger over new image for peace proposal (8)
IRENICON: A 3-letter word for anger, the abbreviation for new and a word meaning image or symbol. A word I didn’t know.
6d Smiley’s nemesis ousting large character from overseas port (7)
KARACHI: Take the 5-letter soviet spymaster who is Smiley’s nemesis and remove (ousting) the abbreviation for large. Then, add the name of an overseas (Greek) character or letter
7d Meal then prepared, including topping of macaroni cheese (9)
EMMENTHAL: An anagram (prepared) of MEAL THEN, including the first letter (topping) of macaroni
8d Joint permit revoked, but not fully (5)
MITRE: An anagram (revoked) of most of the letters (not entirely) in (p)ERMIT
14d Old man almost runs international times in race (5,4)
GRAND PRIX: A 7-letter ‘old man’ but without the last letter (almost), the abbreviations for runs and international, and the letter that is used as a multiplication symbol (times)
16d Bulges of cobblers covered up by puritans (9)
PROTRUDES: A 3-letter word for cobblers or rubbish is covered up by a word meaning puritans
17d Seizing all others in flight (8)
WRESTING: A 4-letter word for ‘all others’ goes inside a word that can mean flight
19d Derelict hut — his housing an unknown dog (4,3)
SHIH TZU: An anagram (derelict) of HUT HIS containing (housing) an algebraic variable (unknown)
21d Open up post about a joke (7)
PIONEER: A word for a post goes about a joke (as in ‘have you heard the *** about’)
22d Eternal lover I flogged, ending in woe (6)
ISOLDE: A (1,4) version of ‘I flogged’, plus the ending in woe
23d Perhaps watch while undermined by resistance (5)
TIMER: A word for a while or duration plus the abbreviation for resistance
25d Wastrel endlessly worked and tried to rectify failure? (5)
RESAT: An anagram (worked) of (w)ASTRE(l) without the outer letters (endlessly)
I liked Smiley’s nemesis and my favourite today is the unconventional 4d. Which clues did you like?