2174: Difficulty

2174: Difficulty
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Five clues consist of cryptic indications of partial answers; in each case, the indicated part must be treated thematically to create the full answer to be entered in the grid. Numbers in brackets refer to lengths of entries. Solvers need to 12 38 43 (a five-word phrase, in Chambers) in order to create each of the thematic entries, definitions of which are supplied by the other unclued lights. Elsewhere ignore an accent.


1 Character of Eliot’s ode to a herb, oddly absorbing piece (14, two words)

9 College lecturer’s taken food (4)

11 Scattered corn, thus covering earth in enclosures for poultry (9, hyphened)

16 Sly look about a Scottish storyteller (5)

17 Acceptable to enter outside set times of prayer (5)

20 Second home (7)

21 Disorderly retreat, losing out (7)

24 Run with revolutionary sign (7)

25 Worry endlessly about refrigerant (5)

28 Collapse that is stopped by mobile police force (7)

31 Fungus in Egypt in rounded mass (7)

34 Sole flaky covering insect sheds (7, hyphened)

37 Joke about American prominence (5)

39 Manages hurt pose (6, two words)

40 Terrapin in academy studied (4)

41 Goddess receiving kiss, all terribly brittle? (9)


1 Cry feebly, wanting money (6)

2 Ray right after mist (5)

3 Thunderer exercises in village (6)

4 Present earl cracked down (5)

5 Rodent in lair tucked into fish (7)

6 Beat gripping new series with old repeats (7, two words)

7 Problem with ear bone broken by monkey (6)

8 Good number upset about hoax?  Charming (8)

10 Dull poems after time referring to worms (10)

13 In which place has weak man control? (7)

18 Surrounding rival on ground, grabbing chance with king away (10)

19 Gifts freely sent, never short of volume (8)

22 Guided northward on river free from parasites (7)

23 Absolute, old-fashioned graft allowable (8)

27 Hinder appeal raised with quiet language (7)

29 Head of state in Iran (7)

32 Sheriffs in league approve restricting whiskey (6)

33 Ace in race, son moves fast (6)

35 Showy person in middle of ritual on edge (5)

36 Festival keeps record up (5)

A first prize of £30 for the first correct solution opened on 25 August. There are two runners-up prizes of £20. (UK solvers can choose to receive the latest edition of the Chambers Dictionary instead of cash— ring the word ‘Dictionary’.) Entries to: Crossword 2174, The Spectator, 22 Old Queen Street, London SW1H 9HP. Please allow six weeks for prize delivery.