Toughie No 97

Toughie No 97 by Cephas

Firm but fair

+ – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ****

Tuesdays and Wednesdays are becoming a bit of a struggle with two crosswords to be blogged – I already have help on Thursday, Friday and the Saturday Review.  If you would like to help, then get in touch through Contact.  Today I have changed the format a little so that the components of the answer, and the answer itself, are in capitals.

The puzzle itself was firm but fair, apart from some of the silly three letter clues.  Peter Biddlecombe (whose Review of  last Saturday’s puzzle will be published at noon tomorrow) won’t like the grid on this one – four totally separate corners joined only in the centre.  Don’t be surprised if you get some of the answers and then struggle to find the wordplay, but then that’s why this blog is here!

Across

1a Newcomer’s healthy complexion (5,4)
Healthy is FRESH, the rest should be easy

9a Spent force in Portugal? (6)
Portugal’s currency before the Euro

10a Hand working (9)
Double meaning – a noun for a skilled worker and an adjective meaning working

11a Synthetic drug or non-metallic element, say (6)
A sulphonamide (drug) or sounds like (say) Sulphur (non-metallic element)

12a Machine run included when it is fit for publication (9)
PRINTABLE (fit for publication) – PINTABLE (machine) around (included) R (run)

13a Unattractive Rechabite in riotous orgy (6)
TT (teetotal / a Rechabite is a total abstainer from intoxicating drinks) inside an anagram (riotous) of ORGY

17a Rod cut short when pale (3)
WAN – WANd (rod) without the last letter (cut short)

19a Would one hate to have this treatment? (8,7)
A cryptic definition of AVERSION THERAPY

20a Ohio chief’s interjection (3)
OH (Ohio – you could have found this in the Countries entry in The Mine, the new section of this blog) around (interjection) C (chief) – an &lit clue (see previous posts)

21a From Early English long ago name for donkey (6)
This should be everyone’s favourite clue – E(arly) E(nglish) YORE (long ago) giving the name of A A Milne’s donkey

25a Repeat murder too often? (2,2,5)
Cryptic double definition – to repeat something too often is to DO TO DEATH

26a Quartet left corresponding recount (6)
RELATE (recount) – RELATivE without the iv (quartet / four)

27a One pretending to be cleaner by lake at one (9)
CHARLATAN (one pretending to be) – CHAR (cleaner) by L(ake) AT AN (one)

28a First six revolutionary characters moved in gallery (6)
An anagram (moved) of the first six letters of REVOLUtionary giving a well known Parisian art gallery

29a So sure to make a discovery (9)
ASCERTAIN (to make a discovery) – AS (so) CERTAIN (sure)

Down

2d Rumour about drug Romeo included (6)
RE (about) POT (drug) around (included) R(omeo)

3d Lady, one not completely calm at the start (6)
SERENA (lady) – SERENe (not completely calm) before (at the start) A (one)

4d Plump jazz fan, he’s very wealthy (3-3)
FAT (plump) CAT (jazz fan)

5d Polite Scot, he is accommodating fool in mufti (8,7)
CIVILIAN CLOTHES (in mufti) – CIVIL (polite) IAN (Scot) HES (he’s) around (accommodating) CLOT (fool)

6d Waters at the mouth (9)
The mouths of rivers

7d Upmarket’s remarkable cut of meat (4,5)
A very nice anagram of UPMARKETS

8d Rex found among yeomanry perhaps or among gypsies (6,3)
ROMANY RYE (among gypsies / a man who associates with gypsies, though not one himself) – R(ex) inside (found among) an anagram(perhaps) of YEOMANRY

14d Gem of a part to be played (5,4)
CAMEO (gem) ROLE (a part)

15d Precious stone I put inside chimney, it’s corrosion-resistant (9)
BERYLLIUM (it’s corrosion-resistant) – BERYL (precious stone) I put inside LUM (a Scottish word for a chimney)

16d Artificial grass manufactured for Stuart (9)
An anagram (manufactured) of FOR STUART, giving an artificial playing surface for outdoor games (or covering cars!)

17d Court not half lacking animation (3)
WOO (court)- WOOden (lacking animation without the second half of the word / not half)

18d As much as possible to this degree north, no alternative (3)
NTH – To the nth degree (as much as possible to this degree) NorTH (north without or / no alternative)

22d Poles in church lacking refinement (6)
COARSE (lacking refinement) – OARS (poles) inside CE (Church of England)

23d Wind not about to get up in eastern Mediterranean (6)
LEVANT (another name for the eastern Mediterranean) – LEVANTer is a wind, take away (not) the er  (about / re reversed / to get up) – this is what I meant about finding the answer first, then working out the wordplay

24d Clouds artist portrayed (6)
STRATI (clouds) – an anagram (portrayed) of ARTIST

Problems on the CluedUp site are a constant source of annoyance to its users.  Today, at 00.50, I got “Get Puzzle Error / Responder fault – error connecting to server”.  If this happens because of maintenance, then it would be nice if we were told which times to avoid.  Would any of you like a fault report section on the blog so that you can share your experiences?

As always, feel free to add your own comment.

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One Comment

  1. Posted February 18, 2009 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Fairly straightforward despite the cornery grid, as there was no really nasty corner. I guess 11A was last in for many as it’s the most obscure answer. 22’s ‘poles’ raised an eyebrow but COED describes an oar as a ‘pole with a flat blade’, so fair enough.