Toughie No 2963 by Firefly
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ***
Thanks to Firefly for brightening up a horribly dark squally day in North Devon. He has given us an enjoyable puzzle with an ursine theme.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
1a Bear with racket in house and tip in garden, not being around (10)
PADDINGTON: insert a word for a loud racket among an informal word for a house, the first letter of garden and the reversal of NOT.
6a Blubber when some verbal flak’s about (4)
FLAB: hidden in reverse.
9a Short flight for American duck (5)
STOOP: double definition, the first a porch with steps in the USA, the second a verb.
10a Craftsman‘s erratic if disturbed (9)
ARTIFICER: an anagram (disturbed) of ERRATIC IF.
12a Select arm for security team (7,6)
SPECIAL BRANCH: an adjective meaning select or superior and an arm or subdivision make a police department in the UK.
14a Woman up against Martian man? (8)
VENUSIAN: I think that this is just a cryptic definition based on the title of a book by John Gray “Men are from Mars, Women are from *****”.
15a Prince perhaps can get through amidst daily grind? (6)
RUPERT: this Prince was a nephew of King Charles I and commanded the royalist cavalry during the English Civil War. Insert a preposition meaning through into a word for the daily grind.
17a Cause betrayal — lose head (6)
REASON: remove the first letter from a word for betrayal.
19a He performs on the side at stadium, using content from Osman in material (8)
LINESMAN: insert the middle letters of Osman into a type of woven cloth. In both football and rugby this person has been upgraded to a more prestigious title but the term may still be used in tennis or other sports.
21a Both on a roll in a spanking (but not a new) light aircraft? (3-3,7)
HOT-AIR BALLOON: an anagram (spanking) of BOTH O[n] A ROLL IN A after one instance of the abbreviation for new has been removed.
24a She and Mike engage in match warmly (9)
THERMALLY: insert a feminine pronoun and what Mike represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet into a verb to match or agree.
25a Destiny is more assured, they say (5)
KARMA: this is supposed to be a homophone (he said through gritted teeth!) of a comparative meaning more assured or unperturbed.
26a When band does Go West, it stinks! (4)
POOH: reverse a circular band.
27a From keg, Lee — a pro — loosened stopper (10)
GOALKEEPER: an anagram (loosened) of KEG LEE A PRO.
1d Parading outstandingly stylish habits starts like this? (4)
POSH: first letters of four words.
2d Calls to give up greed, say? (5,2)
DROPS IN: if you split your answer 4,3 it could mean to give up what greed is an example of.
3d Artistic approach shown by setter’s papers — one in most timeless configuring (13)
IMPRESSIONISM: assemble the contracted form of ‘the setter is’ from his viewpoint, a word for newspapers and an anagram (configuring) of IN MOS[t] containing the Roman numeral for one.
4d Seriousness of life once besieged by almost complete apprehension (8)
GRAVITAS: the Latin word for life (most often seen these days in the expanded form of CV) goes inside a synonym of apprehension or understanding without its final P.
5d It’s about 8, and the writer’s absent from production of Camelot (5)
OCTAL: remove the objective first person pronoun from CAMELOT and make an anagram (configuration) of what remains.
7d Certify fluid cleans step evenly (7)
LICENSE: regular letters of words in the clue.
8d Delivery note claiming son is “Gem of the Month” (10)
BIRTHSTONE: charade of synonyms for delivery and note bracketing the genealogical abbreviation for son.
11d It gets broken after Chinese person holds up packet (7,6)
FORTUNE COOKIE: a word for a person (especially in the phrase ‘a tough ******’) follows a packet (as in ‘that new car will cost you a packet’).
13d In public, shirt ambassador’s put on is immoderate (4-3-3)
OVER-THE-TOP: start with an adjective meaning ‘in public’ and add what a shirt is an example of preceded by the abbreviated title of an ambassador.
16d False idols put up, showing a lack of faith (8)
DISLOYAL: an anagram (false) of IDOLS is followed by the reversal of a verb to put.
18d Style for which undercoat’s spread without preliminaries (3,4)
ART DECO: an anagram (spread) of [un]DERCOAT without its two preliminary letters.
20d In Hindu mystical music, quietly vamp (7)
MANTRAP: a word chanted in Hindu meditation and the musical abbreviation for quietly.
22d Old lullaby reducing disturbance by half (5)
BALOO: remove the first half of a word meaning disturbance or fuss. The BRB has seemingly not heard of this meaning of the answer but Collins has.
23d Barnet breeze through finally? Quite the reverse! (4)
HAIR: a breeze or bit of wind follows the last letter of ‘through’.
For my podium today I’ve selected 9a, 12a and 2d. Which ones did you find bearable?