Toughie No 2985 by Robyn
Hints and tips by StephenL
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
BD Rating – Difficulty **** – Enjoyment ****
Good afternoon from a wet and windy South Devon coast, and as it my first blog of the year, Best Wishes to all for 2023.
The much admired Robyn kicks of the Toughie week with a superb puzzle that lived up to it’s name.
Please leave a comment telling us what you thought
1a Get rid of setter in flipping bad temper — it’s grating (10)
PORTCULLIS: A verb meaning to get rid of in the sense of kill plus a first person pronoun (setter) sit inside a reversal (flipping) of a fit of pique maybe.
6a You may get a lift from this bit of music after tango (1-3)
T-BAR: The abbreviation for Tango and a segment of time in a piece of music.
9a A suitable place for King John? (6,4)
THRONE ROOM: Cryptic definition where John is a reference to a loo.
10a Raised money, by the sound of it (4)
BRED: A homophone (by the sound of it) of a synonym of money, seen more in crosswordland than in real life these days
12a Salad ingredient? It must be cut in haste (6)
CELERY: Remove the word it (must be cut) from a synonym of haste or swiftness.
13a Sloth maybe of Etonian PM, say, losing face (8)
EDENTATE: Sloth here is not, as Robyn would like you to believe, a reluctance to work but an animal. Start with an Old Etonian Prime Minister and add a synonym of say or utter without its first letter
15a Play’s start done afresh, saving place in case it’s exciting (6-6)
ACTION-PACKED: The first of a series of sections of a play (3-1) plus an anagram (afresh) of DONE go around a verb meaning to put clothes in a case.
18a Maybe Bourbon king — in time, that fellow ate jam (3,4,5)
THE HARD STUFF: Start with the abbreviation for Time, add a third person pronoun and a synonym of ate into which is inserted the Latin abbreviation for King. Finally add a synonym of jam as a verb.
21a Wise to protect possible remedy for oil slick, say (8)
SPILLAGE: A synonyms of wise goes around something we “pop” in order to cure a medical ailment
22a Bay in a large coastal area (6)
ALCOVE: A from the clue, the abbreviation for Large and a bay or inlet, favoured in days of old by smugglers
24a Is she a bit of a looker? (4)
IRIS: The “looker” to which our setter is referring is the eye. We need a part of it that is also a female name (though not many are called it these days I suspect)
25a Heard stern bank worker is one who provides an account (4-6)
TALE TELLER: A homophone of a synonym of stern (heard)in the sense of location and a bank worker (when banks used to have physical branches!)
26a Bunch of crooks in north smuggled in crack (4)
GANG: Insert the abbreviation for North into a crack in the sense of a joke.
27a Crew put on outfits for what ships do (3,2,5)
GET UP STEAM: Take an informal term (3-3) for outfits in the sense of clothes and add (put on) a synonym of crew as noun.
1d Power thus shifts around roughly in such an event (6)
PUTSCH: Start with the abbreviation for Power then place an anagram (shifts around) of THUS around an abbreviation for roughly in the sense of about. I think this is a very good all in one.
2d Soldiers see about radio firstly with low frequency (6)
RARELY: The abbreviation for Royal Artillery and crosswordland’s favourite see in the sense of a city go around the initial letter of Radio
3d Possible to catch criminal showing docility (12)
CONTRACTABLE: Our usual 3-letter informal criminal plus an adjective meaning easy to control or influence.
4d Instrument pork pie producer picked up (4)
LYRE: The pork pie producer is one who tells fibs in the East end of London. We need a homophone (picked up) of him/her. Lol.
5d Natural dresses Dior fashioned lacking restraint (10)
INORDINATE: A synonym of natural or inborn goes around (dresses) an anagram (fashioned) of DIOR.
7d Where you may find those who serve meat in pubs (8)
BARRACKS: Place the meat illustrated below into a synonym of pubs.
8d Rulers like Stalin, Mao, Henry VIII and Elizabeth I? (8)
REDHEADS: Split the four leaders into two categories, one referring to the colour of their hair the other to the colour of their politics.
11d Admitting bad name, if not breaking rules (12)
UNLAWFULNESS: Place a conjunction meaning “if not” around a synonym of bad and the abbreviation for Name
14d Lines in great novel read, possibly rot (10)
BIODEGRADE: Insert some poetic lines into a synonym of great in the sense of size and add an anagram (novel) of read. Here’s some “poetry” set to music.
16d Putting aside smart clothes since holiday’s beginning (8)
STASHING: A synonym of smart in the sense of hurt “clothes” or goes around by a short 2-letter conjunction meaning since and the initial letter of holiday
17d After start of month boy keeps current resolution (8)
DECISION: Start with an abbreviated month, add the letter that looks like the number one and then a male offspring into which is inserted the abbreviation for electrical current.
19d One saving pound in Indian region, in other words (6)
GOALIE: An abbreviation for pound is inserted between an Indian region and the Latin abbreviation for that is (in other words)
20d Racing champ crows, moving towards the top (3,3)
RED RUM: Reverse (moving towards the top) the collective noun for a group of crows. Great clue.
23d Something The Archers have on the radio is dandy (4)
BEAU A homophone of something archers have in order to propel their projectiles. Ignore the capitalisation, it’s there to mislead and has nothing to do with the radio programme.
Brilliant puzzle in which there isn’t one pure anagram. My top spot goes to 1d with 15a and the clever 20d making up the podium. Which ones did you like?