Toughie No 2953 by Serpent
Hints and tips by StephenL
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****/*****
Hello everyone from a one minute sun, one minute rain South Devon.
Serpent, one of my favourite setters, kicks of the Toughie week with a quite brilliant puzzle. As usual with this setter there is something extra going on in the grid. It shouldn’t be too Hard to spot.
Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.
1a Run towards this place almost more willingly (6)
RATHER: The abbreviation for Run, a synonym of towards and an adverb meaning “this place” minus (almost) its last letter.
5a Relative acquires fashionable cycling strip (8)
UNCLOTHE: Start with a male relative and place it around a synonym of fashionable which has its initial letter cycled to the end.
9a Who possibly saved regularly and kept cash? (10)
CHEAPSKATE: Anagram of the regular letters of sAvEd and KEPT CASH for a quite brilliant all in one.
10a Imply gangland killing involves money essentially (4)
HINT: A 3-letter gangland killing goes around the essential letter of moNey.
11a Fuss over that woman’s most disrespectful (8)
FRESHEST: A synonym of fuss over or worry about goes around an abbreviated way of saying “that woman is”.
12a 22 holding attention briefly and bringing happiness (6)
CHEERY: Another insertion, this time a synonym of 22d goes around (holding) an imperative form meaning “pay attention” without its last letter.
13a Part of apocryphal observation? (4)
HALO: Hidden (part of) in the clue.
15a Jumbo jet plane crashed leaving Jack outside hospital (8)
ELEPHANT: Place an anagram (crashed) of JET PLANE after the abbreviation for Jack has been removed around the abbreviation for Hospital. A real smiler.
18a Production of large plant left behind film fan (8)
HAZELNUT: The abbreviation for Left follows a synonym of film in the sense of mist. Append a fan or geek.
19a What stops old lady going the other way? (4)
AHEM: An exclamation meaning “what” goes inside an abbreviated old lady and the result is reversed (going the other way). I see this as a semi &lit.
21a Lashes out in struggle (6)
HASSLE: Anagram (out) of LASHES.
23a Island surrounded by continent? Correct (8)
CHASTISE: A synonym of continent (no not Africa or Europe!) in the sense of self-restrained goes around the abbreviation for ISland. The solution is a verb
25a Repeat section of repetitive chorus (4)
ECHO: Hidden (section of)
26a Travels freely in India having been beset by delays around Hong Kong (10)
HITCHHIKES: Place the abbreviation for Hong Kong around the abbreviation for India and insert the result into some delays or problems. Three of the theme in one word.
27a Harassed Conservative rushed to stop introduction of higher education (8)
HECTORED: Start with the abbreviation for Conservative, add a synonym of rushed and insert the result (to stop) into the initial letter of Higher and the abbreviation for Education.
28a Dictator’s projected king’s power (6)
THRONE: Homophone (dictator’s) of a synonym of projected in the sense of lobbed.
2d Really dislike expression of sympathy put on by British men (5)
ABHOR: Insert the abbreviation for British into a 2-letter exclamation which could be used to express sympathy and append the abbreviation for some military men.
3d What marks out grave aspect of leader? (9)
HEADSTONE: If you look at this as leader’s aspect (5,4) you’ll see the wordplay. Very clever.
4d Spots case for employer being less prudent (6)
RASHER: Some spots are followed by the outer letters (case for) of EmployeR.
5d University attendance hit badly over university not having legal status (15)
UNAUTHENTICATED: The abbreviation for University plus an anagram (badly) of ATTENDANCE HIT including another abbreviation for University.
6d Closed firm’s chance deal, without terms of extra quota changing (8)
CLENCHED: Anagram (changing) of CHANCE DEAL once the closing letters (terms of) extra quota have been removed.
7d Golden rule primarily circumscribed by line competitors must not cross (5)
OCHRE: A knowledge of “arrows” is useful here. Insert the primary letter of Rule into the line behind which a darts player must stand. LOL.
8d Previously let deer breed round November (9)
HINDRANCE: A female deer plus a synonym of breed placed around the abbreviation for November. Passengers have the right to travel without let or ………
14d Volcano with molten rock rising, ejecting tons round constant hot flood (9)
AVALANCHE: Start with a well-known volcano. Add some molten rock and reverse the result (rising). Then remove (ejecting) the abbreviation for Tons and replace with those for Constant and Hot.
16d Husband richer after leaving wife in a better position financially (9)
HEALTHIER: Start with the abbreviation for Husband. Add a synonym of richer from which the abbreviation for Wife is removed.
17d Set free naked hunter gatherer taking sides once more (8)
UNTETHER: Remove the outer letters (naked) of hUNTEr and repeat the process twice with gaTHERer.
20d Distinguishing mark of each criminal imprisoned by court (6)
CACHET: An anagram (criminal)of EACH inside the abbreviation for CourT
22d Mum, I want you to go and buy drinks for everyone (5)
SHOUT: An exclamation meaning be quiet (mum) plus an imperative which could mean “I want you to go”. The solution often follows the pronoun “my”.
24d Polish hotel’s dated exterior (5)
SHEEN: The abbreviation for Hotel goes inside a synonym of dated in the sense of “went out with”.
Many thanks Serpent. In a mega-strong field my favourite was 9a.