Toughie No 3025 by Serpent
Hints and tips by StephenL
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****/*****
Hello everyone from a bright and breezy South Devon coast.
Serpent, a setter who is always welcome here, kicks off the Toughie week with a top-notch puzzle that I found somewhat easier to fill in than fully parse, cryptic and clever throughout.
Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.
1a One imitating Muhammad Ali’s rapid speech? (6)
JABBER: A verb meaning to talking rapidly or prattle could whimsically describe someone imitating Mohammed Ali or any other boxer throwing this type of punch.
5a Moving third part of Bach chorale connected with the listener at a deep level (8)
COCHLEAR: Anagram (moving) of the third letter of BaCh and CHORALE.
9a They help to produce speech, possibly providing collections of notes (5,5)
VOCAL CORDS: The parts of our anatomy in the throat that help produce speech or sound through vibration could produce a selection of musical notes if we take the first word of the solution as a homophone indicator.
10a See 12a
11a English politician experiences one’s stress (8)
EMPHASIS: A charade of the abbreviations for English, Member of Parliament, a synonym of experiences, the letter that represents the number one and the possessive S.
12a & 10a Snack barrel overturned and eaten by naughty children (6,4)
MONKEY NUTS: A large 3-letter beer or wine cask is reversed and inserted into (eaten by) an informal name for some naughty children.
13a Most of what is posted on social media is precious (4)
TWEE: A (very topical) social media post loses its last letter. I think the surface read of the clue is very close to the truth.
15a Insignificant place of interest to politicians in The Borders (8)
MARGINAL: An excellent triple definition, two being obvious, the other being a parliamentary seat with a small majority, hence of interest to politicians.
18a More blunt warnings ultimately in need of coverage? (8)
STARKERS: A comparative adjective synonym of blunt or terse and the final letter of warningS. The coverage is a reference to clothing. Lol.
19a Couple beginning to regret row (4)
TIER: Couple here is a verb in the sense of attach. Follow it with the initial letter of Regret
21a & 25a New article includes favourite piece of domestic coverage? (6,4)
CARPET TILE. An anagram (new) of ARTICLE is placed around (includes) a 3-letter synonym of favourite.
23a Note penned by unknown doctor probes several signs of complaint (8)
SYNDROME: Insert the abbreviation for Note into a mathematical unknown and an abbreviation for doctor then insert the result (probes) into a synonym of several or an unknown quantity.
25a See 21a
26a Broadcast if the writer’s keen observer of current events (7,3)
WEATHER EYE: Homophones (broadcast) of a synonym of if and a synonym of a first person pronoun (the writer)… excellent.
27a Skinned snake fed to Bob? (8)
SWINDLED: Bob here (of course) is not a person but an informal word for a means of travelling over snow. Place a synonym of snake as a verb into it, the indicator being “fed to”.
28a Issue before court might be regarded as comparatively dull (6)
MATTER: An issue under legal consideration could whimsically be described as duller of flatter.
2d & 14d Opinionated chamber supports American work (1,4,4,1,4)
A ROOM WITH A VIEW: A cryptic definition of an opinionated chamber (bearing in mind what a chamber is an example of) “supports” or goes below in a down clue an abbreviation for American. The work here is a literary work.
3d Wooden merchandise delivered in wardrobe on The Strand (9)
BEACHWEAR: Strand here is the shore of the sea. The clothing we may be attired in if there sounds like (delivered) some merchandise made of a type of wood.
4d Poor actress almost given new part (6)
RECAST: Anagram (poor) of all but the final letter of ACTRES(s)
5d Children edge round street when one’s left with small isolated spot (9,6)
CHRISTMAS ISLAND: Start with the abbreviation for CHildren, then place a 3-letter edge around the abbreviation for street, add a synonym of when, the letter that looks like the number one, the possessive S, the abbreviation for Left and finally a synonym of with. Phew!
6d Material supplied by pool of money? (8)
CASHMERE: Follow an informal word for money with a lake or pond.
7d Recycled odd bits of nylon, denim and cotton fabric (5)
LINEN: Anagram (recycled) of NyLoN and dEnIm (odd bits of)
8d & 24d Display worst music or writing, perhaps depending on circumstances (2,3,4,3,2)
AS THE CASE MAY BE: Four of the first five words of the clue are all types of (perhaps) the third word of the solution. Very clever and thanks to Gazza for the nudge here.
14d See 2d
16d Try to make sense of food franchise started by football team (9)
INTERPRET: Append the first word (started) of a well known food franchise with a French name to an abbreviated Italian football team.
17d Drink until we start to learn means of getting dry (3,5)
TEA TOWEL: A charade of the nation’s favourite drink, a preposition meaning until, we from the clue and the initial letter of learn.
20d It’s meant, when playing, to inspire hearts (6)
ANTHEM: Insert the abbreviation for Hearts into an anagram (when playing) of MEANT. I see this as a clever &lit.
22d Dress down writer about charges (5)
PREEN: I think this is an insertion (charges) of a preposition meaning about or regarding into a writing implement.
24d See 8d
Many thanks Serpent, excellent stuff. My stars were 9,15&26a plus 20&22d. Which ones shone brightest for you?