Toughie No 2907 by Firefly
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty **/*** – Enjoyment ***
Thanks to Firefly for a pleasant Thursday Toughie. There are two words that I didn’t know which made me add an extra half-star for difficulty.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
1a/25d Split cable that’s attended to by one “on message”? (5,4)
PARTY LINE: in the old days (pre-BT) the Post Office used to install telephones where a single connection was shared between two neighbouring properties. The answer also describes the prescribed stories trotted out by politicians more keen to curry favour with their leaders than to tell the truth.
4a Game trap suspicious — mysteriously empty (3,5)
GIN RUMMY: join together a banned type of animal trap, an adjective meaning suspicious and the outer letters of mysteriously.
10a Cheesy stuff from cabaret opener welcomed by revelry and cheers (7)
RICOTTA: insert the opening letter of cabaret into a word meaning revelry or merrymaking and finish with a short informal word of gratitude.
11a Strand incorporates some forgotten drillholes (7)
TENDRIL: hidden in the clue.
12a Reportedly took off chimney (4)
FLUE: this sounds like a verb meaning took off or left the ground.
13a Short of energy, finish with spot of redecorating in annex (5)
USURP: start with a phrasal verb (3,2) meaning finish or deplete, remove the abbreviation for energy and insert the first letter of redecorating.
14a Regrettably, American girl’s lost one son (4)
ALAS: an abbreviation for American and a girl without one of the abbreviations for son.
17a Current NHS attendance transformed and rising (2,3,9)
IN THE ASCENDANT: start with the symbol for electric current and add an anagram (transformed) of NHS ATTENDANCE.
19a Unusually, I sport a felspar casing to protect fracture (7,2,5)
PLASTER OF PARIS: an anagram (unusually) of I SPORT A FELSPAR.
22a She’s angry about closure of theatre (4)
DAME: reverse an adjective meaning angry and append the closing letter of theatre.
23a Spotted about five hills of Rome? (5)
SEVEN: a past participle meaning spotted containing the Roman numeral for five.
24a Mosquito given smack on the counter (4)
GNAT: reverse a word meaning smack or strong flavour.
27a Keyboard‘s overspecialised in design — troublesome episodes eliminated (7)
CLAVIER: a subtractive anagram – remove the jumbled (troublesome) letters of ‘episodes’ from OVERSPECIALISED and make an anagram (in design) of what you have left.
28a Ugliness? Certainly among unlimited retiring superstars (7)
EYESORE: insert a positive response (certainly) into the reversal of a word for superstars or leading men without its outer letters.
29a Turkey reluctant — and cross (8)
TRAVERSE: stick together the IVR code for Turkey and an adjective meaning reluctant.
30a Right to open up transport for pastry (5)
TORTE: an abbreviation for right goes inside a verb to transport.
1d Stench rising beneath passage could be oil (8)
PARAFFIN: reverse an informal word for a stench after the abbreviation for a passage of text.
2d Rookie fawn’s trapped in river next to city centre (7)
RECRUIT: the abbreviation for river and the central letters of city with a light fawn colour being inserted.
3d Hairy creature heads for youthful expedition’s tents, intimidatingly (4)
YETI: the initial letters of four words in the clue.
5d Measuring instrument set for retirement around end of June (14)
INTERFEROMETER: an anagram (set) of FOR RETIREMENT containing the end letter of June. A new word for me and apart for the fact that it’s something to do with wavelengths I’m still in the dark about what it does.
6d Payment divided (4)
RENT: double definition.
7d Sex bomb, sultrily (not half!) boarding ship (7)
MARILYN: insert one half of the word sultrily into a word for a warship.
8d Reportedly joins the Yellows (5)
YOLKS: this sounds like a verb meaning joins or ties together.
9d CBS uses reel ace edited in Notable Trials (6,8)
CAUSES CÉLÈBRES: an anagram (edited) of CBS USES REEL ACE. Most such these days seem to be about the misdeeds of footballers or their wives.
15d Occasionally Arsenal’s team’s first to go off a bit! (5)
REAST: the even letters of Arsenal’s and the first letter of team. Another word I didn’t know – it means to go off in the sense of become rancid.
16d Amino acid from Poland not new, surprisingly (1-4)
L-DOPA: an anagram (surprisingly) of POLA[n]D without the abbreviation for new.
18d In a way, one meets rest in a place which is without hotel (2,2,4)
AS IT WERE: paste together a single letter that can mean one, a verb to rest and an adverb meaning ‘in a place’ without the letter that hotel represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.
20d Monk embracing sinful dance (7)
LAMBADA: a Buddhist monk contains an adjective meaning sinful.
21d What judge did, having no time for resentment (7)
RANCOUR: what the judge did was *** *****. Remove the last letter, i.e. the abbreviation for time.
22d Old money initially accepted in Tube (5)
DUCAT: insert the initial letter of accepted into a tube or channel.
25d See 1a
26d Remaining liberally inclined? (4)
LEFT: double definition, the second meaning the liberal side politically.
The top three clues for me were 13a, 7d and 21d. Which ones cut the mustard for you?