Toughie No 3155 by Django
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty **** – Enjoyment ****
This is the type of Toughie which I really like – one where the toughness comes from tricky wordplay and deceptive definitions rather than obscurities. I found this one challenging but had no need to consult the BRB or Mrs Google for the meanings of words – many thanks to Django for the enjoyment.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
1a Caught when young soldier briefly falls (7)
CASCADE: assemble the cricket abbreviation for caught, a conjunction meaning when and a trainee soldier without his/her final letter.
5a Spotted solicitor was winning (7)
PIMPLED: a disreputable person who solicits and a verb meaning ‘was winning’.
9a Almost tragic — on Tube, Sol Campbell’s going round the wrong way (5,3,2,5)
CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR: a very impressive ‘reverse hidden’.
10a More than finished (4)
OVER: double definition, the first a preposition meaning ‘in excess of’.
11a Left one-against-one at the back — Pickford’s fuming (5)
LIVID: string together the abbreviation for left, two occurrences of the Roman one bracketing an abbreviation meaning against and the last letter of Pickford. The surface is football-related with Pickford being the name of an England goalkeeper.
12a Try stiletto (4)
STAB: double definition, stiletto here being a verb.
15a Study metal — tip of angle grinder, for example, is largely made of this (7)
DENTINE: put together a study, a metal and the last letter of angle.
16a Sensible old woman goes on jog, back in training (7)
NURTURE: an adjective meaning sensible or grown-up without the affectionate word for one’s old woman follows the reversal of a verb to jog.
17a Disposed of agency worker — chose less work (7)
TEMPTED: an agency office worker and a verb meaning chose without the usual abbreviation for work.
19a Retirement spot finally read honour roll in reverse order (4,3)
BUNK BED: we need a) the final letter of read, b) an honour and c) a small roll or loaf. Assemble them in reverse order.
21a Rubbish point City dropped (4)
DIRT: a verb to point or indicate without the area code for the City of London.
22a Broadcast Scout Association’s leaders’ attempt (5)
ESSAY: this sounds like the leading letters of Scout Association.
23a Posh sort ultimately wanting posh food (4)
TOFU: a posh person without his/her ultimate letter followed by the abbreviation meaning posh.
26a Family bankrupt right before career in affluent area (11,4)
STOCKBROKER BELT: glue together a synonym of family or descent, an informal word meaning bankrupt, the abbreviation for right and a verb to career or move swiftly.
27a Mix up and supply same kit (7)
MISTAKE: an anagram (supply) of SAME KIT.
28a Perhaps Dalai Lama and I lay in sun (7)
TIBETAN: insert I and a verb to lay or wager into a verb to sun(bathe).
1d Church know lady regularly betrayed husband (7)
CUCKOLD: regular letters from the first three words of the clue.
2d Trickery as magician’s prop is hidden by cigarette papers as wife disappears (5,3,7)
SMOKE AND MIRRORS: an informal word for a cigarette and multiple (news)papers contain a magician’s prop without the genealogical abbreviation for wife.
3d One kiss and journalist is sacked (4)
AXED: another word for one, the letter used to mean a kiss and our usual abbreviated journalist.
4d Baffling — relating to sight returning — no adult should cover up middle of eye (7)
ELUSIVE: an adjective meaning relating to sight loses its abbreviation for adult. Now reverse that and use it to replace the central letter of eye.
5d Extremely positive news about sailor occasionally getting allowance (7)
PENSION: the outer letters of positive and two occurrences of the abbreviation for new containing occasional letters from ‘sailor’.
6d Rod Liddle’s latest written by computer (4)
MACE: the last letter of Liddle follows a model of computer. Surely Django is not implying that this journalist uses AI to write his articles (LOL)?
7d When one gets it, tell thingummybob to spend year travelling (9,6)
LIGHTBULB MOMENT: remove (spend) the abbreviation for year from TELL THINGUMMyBOB and make an anagram (travelling) of what remains.
8d Outstanding gathering student pub set up fast (7)
DURABLE: an adjective meaning outstanding (e.g. a debt) contains the reversal of our usual abbreviation for a student and a synonym of pub.
13d Contamination maybe in body of water if using lake for end of sewer (5)
FILTH: start with a body of water (a word used in several placenames in Scotland) and utilise the abbreviation for lake in place of the last letter of sewer. The surface seems to describe what water companies do rather a lot these days.
14d Handle kilo US drug cop put on the counter (5)
CRANK: reverse the abbreviation for kilo and an informal word for a US drug cop to get the sort of handle that was standard equipment on cars when I was very young.
17d Clear up problem for decent amount (4,3)
TIDY SUM: a verb to clear up and a synonym of problem.
18d Case for detective — hand out warrant (7)
DESERVE: the outer letters of detective and a verb to hand out or distribute.
19d Fern Britton’s closing shed — allotment, essentially provides rest (7)
BRACKET: start with a tall type of fern, shed the closing letter and append the essential letter of allotment.
20d Potter around at last with French Riviera city temperature dropping 3 degrees (7)
DOULTON: the last letter of around followed by a city on the French Riviera (best known to me as three-time winners of the Heineken Cup at rugby) with the abbreviation for temperature moved down three places.
24d Fine artist representing lady’s fingers (4)
OKRA: an informal word for fine and our usual abbreviated artist.
25d Grey crustacean — when head gets five times bigger (4)
DRAB: start with a crustacean and, using Roman numerals, multiply its first letter by V.
I really liked all four of the long clues with the excellent hidden phrase at 9a taking top spot. Which one(s) made the cut for you?