Toughie No 2987 by Firefly
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty ***/**** – Enjoyment ***
I spent longer sorting out the wordplay than I did solving this Firefly puzzle. I do enjoy disentangling complicated wordplay but I was still rather glad when I got to the end of the hints. We have a very high number of anagrams (mostly partial) – my counter reached 11!
There is a pleasing relationship between the peripheral answers (which proved to be a big help once I twigged what was going on).
Thanks to Firefly for the challenge.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
1a Hackney Borough at first blasted wage strike, beginning with exasperating little flier (7,5)
CABBAGE WHITE: we have to assemble five different components to make this little flier: a hackney or vehicle for hire, the first letter of borough, an anagram (blasted) of WAGE, a verb to strike and the starting letter of exasperating.
9a Endeavour is finally in Harwich Marina, satnav device gone (4,1,2)
HAVE A GO: the final letters of four words in the clue followed by an adverb meaning gone or in the past.
10a Charges of pusillanimity involved in play denied (7)
STIMULI: an anagram (involved) of PUSILLANIMITY after we’ve removed the letters of ‘in play’. It would be better if we had a secondary indicator to show that the letters to be removed are not in the order shown.
11a Cows’ mess regularly found in the valleys (4)
CWMS: regular letters from the first two words. I debated whether to underline ‘the’ as well as valleys to match the Welsh meaning of the answer.
12a During service, the setter’s torn apart (5)
RIVEN: the contracted form of ‘the setter has’ from his perspective goes inside our senior service.
13a/26d Manoeuvring kart, dame shows a bit of leg (4,4)
DARK MEAT: an anagram (manoeuvring) of KART DAME.
16a Cutting/ school? (7)
LANCING: double definition, the second a posh independent school in Sussex. Presumably the question mark is there because they prefer to call themselves a college.
17a Lacquer’s very short; time to introduce stain? (7)
TARNISH: a verb to lacquer loses the abbreviation for very with what remains being introduced by the abbreviation for time.
18a Queen‘s up to something in retreat with Ian — naughty! (7)
TITANIA: reverse a phrase (2,2) meaning ‘up to something’ and add an anagram (naughty) of IAN.
21a Pressure connected with returning storm, initially increasing cost for living in the main (7)
PELAGIC: string together the physics abbreviation for pressure, the reversal of a force 8 storm and the initial letters of ‘increasing cost’.
23a Trimmed beef, say (4)
MOWN: this sounds like a verb to beef or whinge.
24a Both ends of suite knocked off when falling back into pool (5)
UNITE: reverse a word meaning suite or entourage without its outer letters.
25a Rub/ brass? (4)
GALL: double definition, the first a verb meaning to make sore by rubbing.
28a They do their job amongst lauded elites, as directors, executives, royalty, statesmen (7)
LEADERS: a very neat clue. The answer comes from the first letters of seven words with the answer itself proving the requisite indicator.
29a Request leap from Nureyev perhaps — champion no more (7)
ENTREAT: the sort of leap that Rudolf used to perform with the two-letter abbreviation for champion removed.
30a Sauerkraut staple with mixed swede and celeriac roots — Father gets half up front (5,7)
WHITE CABBAGE: paste together an anagram (mixed) of WITH, the bottom letters of swede and celeriac, a Biblical word for father and the front half of the word ‘gets’.
1d Barbarians creating menace around approach to Verulamium (7)
CAVEMEN: an anagram (creating) of MENACE containing the first letter of Verulamium.
2d Dress up for game (4)
BRAG: reverse a word meaning dress to get a card game.
3d Maintaining electoral system overdue (7)
AVOWING: start with the abbreviation for an electoral system where voters have to rank the candidates in order of preference then add a word meaning overdue or not yet paid.
4d Most convenient to find unlidded bakemeats in Norfolk? (7)
EASIEST: insert a more common word for bakemeats without its top letter into the area of the country where Norfolk is situated.
5d Valerie Hobson rises to present successor (4)
HEIR: hidden in reverse.
6d Wave at us madly around noon — the setter’s back! (7)
TSUNAMI: an anagram (madly) of AT US contains the abbreviation for noon. Finish with the reversal of the contracted form of ‘the setter is’.
7d Drink Scotch containing old, almost “metallic” liquid (9,4)
CHOCOLATE MILK: scotch is a verb (new to me) for a wedge used to prevent slipping. We need another word for the same thing (best known in the old phrase ‘****** away’ used at airports) containing the abbreviation for old and an anagram (liquid) of METALLI[c] without its final letter.
8d For confectionery, draw off Pepsi, say, carried by piping encased in carbon base (4,9)
MILK CHOCOLATE: start with a verb to draw off or siphon then insert what Pepsi is an example of into an adjective meaning piping or boiling. Now encase this last lot between the chemical symbol for carbon and the letter used for a base number in logarithms.
14d Wally‘s pub located in The Big Apple (5)
NINNY: insert a type of pub into the abbreviation for the Big Apple.
15d Question may be grating (5)
GRILL: double definition, the first a verb to question or interrogate.
19d Riverwalk in Chepstow Pat haunted (7)
20d One has difficulty recalling style of cinemas (7)
AMNESIC: an anagram (style) of CINEMAS.
21d To-do with bishop Basil, perhaps? (3,4)
POT HERB: a word meaning ‘to do’ or fuss and the chess abbreviation for bishop.
22d Upset lady geek detailed seductive glance (4,3)
GLAD EYE: an anagram (upset) of LADY GEE[k].
26d See 13 Across
27d Burner phone ultimately unavailable — ringing pointless; one slips deviously away (4)
ETNA: the ultimate letter of phone and an abbreviation meaning unavailable containing what’s left of POINTLESS after we’ve removed the jumbled (deviously) letters of ONE SLIPS.
For my podium I’ve selected 28a, 29a and 21d. Which clue(s) took the plaudits for you?