Toughie No 2939 by Firefly
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty ***/**** – Enjoyment ***
I found parts of this quite tricky (which I can’t blame entirely on the severe case of man flu that I’m currently suffering from) and I can’t fully understand 21a (so any suggestions there would be welcome). Thanks to Firefly.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
7a Soccer’s “Fifth official”, say, brand-new — and he’s troublesome (7)
VARMINT: charade of the acronym for the technology-assisted and controversial fifth official in football and an adjective meaning brand-new. I remember this North American informal term for a troublesome wild animal or person from old Western films.
8a Robbery from post? (5-2)
STICK-UP: cryptically this could be a vertical post.
10a Essentially, director’s movie featuring Heather is a wrap (9)
CLINGFILM: the central letter of director and a synonym of movie contain a favourite type of heather in Crosswordland.
11a Somewhat misdescribe anodyne celebration (5)
BEANO: hidden in the clue.
12a Termination of painful menage a trois — nastier characters departing (5)
OMEGA: remove the letters of NASTIER from MENAGE A TROIS and make an anagram (painful) of what’s left over.
13a Girl briefly sat next to Jack for protection (9)
TARPAULIN: a girl’s name without its last letter follows what goes with Jack as a term for a sailor. I imagine that RD will be registering a complaint here.
15a If possible, put notion to partner with only one answer called for (7)
IDEALLY: stick together a notion or thought and a partner or supporter then remove one of the two abbreviations for answer at the centre of what you have.
17a Universities host band in holidays, being unoccupied (7)
VACUOUS: two occurrences of an abbreviation for university contain the letter that resembles a band or ring. Now put that inside an informal word for holidays.
18a Device placed on Spanish shore was very steep (4,1,4)
COST A BOMB: an incendiary device follows the Spanish word for shore.
20a Get lost among diggers, perhaps, with setter’s upper garments half destroyed (5)
IMSHI: the contracted form of ‘the setter is’ followed by the first half only of upper garments. The answer, derived from Arabic, is an instruction, often shouted at an importuning beggar, to get lost or go away. Collins says it’s Australian military slang (i.e. among Diggers) but it’s certainly used elsewhere as well.
21a Switch like this from left to right (2-3)
ON-OFF: I don’t understand ‘from left to right’ – I thought it might relate to sides of a cricket field but that only works for a batsman who is right-handed. Any better ideas? [Firefly has clarified his intention for this clue at comment #3].
23a Lover to ace airman marshalled … (9)
INAMORATA: an anagram (marshalled) of TO, the abbreviation for Ace and AIRMAN.
24a … support at Chamonix slope, with kit rejigged when temperature dropped (3,4)
SKI POLE: Chamonix is a Winter Sports Centre. We need an anagram (rejigged) of SLOPE KI[t] after the abbreviation for temperature is dropped.
25a Ripple of illegal activities gripping place (7)
CRIMPLE: a generic word for illegal activities contains the mapping abbreviation for place.
1d Riser bored mistakenly into old sewers (10)
BROIDERERS: an anagram (mistakenly) of RISER BORED gives us an archaic word for sewers (those using needles, not those carrying waste matter).
2d It increases potency by way of agar regularly added to start with (6)
VIAGRA: string together a preposition meaning ‘by way of’, regular letters of agar and the starting letter of ‘added’.
3d People dance here exclusively (8)
STRICTLY: the short name for the much-hyped TV show.
4d Sheathing of icebreaker incorporates a certain compound (6)
ISOMER: the outer letters of icebreaker contain a word meaning ‘a certain’.
5d White van caught carrying illicit blini not the last (3,5)
VIN BLANC: VAN and the cricket abbreviation for caught contain an anagram (illicit) of BLIN[i] without its last letter.
6d Sounds like puncture for flier (4)
SKUA: this bird sounds (to some people, not to me) like a verb to puncture or pierce.
7d Plum’s over misfortune, gaining ultimate recognition (8,5)
VICTORIA CROSS: start with a delicious type of plum and add a misfortune or something that has to be borne.
9d Foretell crazy operating cost (13)
PROGNOSTICATE: an anagram (crazy) of OPERATING COST.
14d Sweeps last of junk up in mad hurry (4,6)
LOOK SNAPPY: append the last letter of junk to a verb meaning sweeps (like a film camera) then reverse that inside an informal adjective meaning mad or silly.
16d Get ahead having bound part of the hoof (8)
LEAPFROG: glue together a bound or jump and what the BRB tells me is ‘a V-shaped band of horn on the underside of a horse’s hoof’.
17d Atmosphere almost rendered cold with Disney’s latest animation (8)
VIBRANCY: assemble a word for atmosphere without its final E, a verb for which the BRB gives render as its 94th (approx.) meaning, the tap abbreviation for cold and the last letter of Disney.
19d Twist vivid gold as container (6)
OLIVER: a synonym of vivid is contained inside our usual tincture of gold.
20d Rich club in charge (6)
IRONIC: rich is being used informally here as in “That’s a bit rich”. A golf club is followed by the abbreviation for ‘in charge’.
22d The Listener’s in confusion, having no tea (4)
OTIC: start with an adjective meaning ‘in confusion’ and remove the informal word for tea from its beginning.
The clues getting ticks from me were 8a, 18a and 22d. Which one(s) made your podium?