Toughie No 101

Toughie No 101 by Firefly

Firefly sets another very enjoyable puzzle

+ – + – + – + – +

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

This is the latest in a run of good Toughie crosswords.  Not so Tough that you can’t finish it, but it gives you a warm glow of satisfaction when you do.  Don’t forget that the linked items usually contain information related to the answer – sometimes you may need to look at the url (the bit that starts http://).

The hints and tips:

Across

1a Continentals got together, we hear, with relish (6,7)
Les Blues mustered in Paris for the Rugby International!- personally I much prefer the English variety of this relish

9a Instruction to leading man to cause a disturbance? (5,4)
Adam’s eldest son makes a lot of noise – when he murders his brother

10a Confluence of rivers is drier (5)
A confluence is where two rivers meet – here the AIRE meets another R(iver) to give a drier

11a Noble article about Angola (5)
THANE (noble) – THE (article) around AN (Angola) – apologies to anyone who looked this up in The Mine, but Chambers seem to be the only ones who think that AN is the International Vehicle Registration code for Angola, everywhere else it is given as ANG

12a Boy guzzling last of Thai spread (4)
LAID (spread) – LAD (boy) around (guzzling) I (last of Thai)

13a Mark’s second failure (4)
MISS (failure) – M(ark) IS (Mark’s) S(econd) – this apostrophised IS nearly caught me out again!

15a Drag swimmer back into shelter (7)
DRAW (drag) and EEL (swimmer) reversed (back into) giving shelter
LEEWARD (into shelter) – DRAW (drag) and EEL (swimmer) reversed (back)

17a Bighead is to get sorted (7)
Quite a neat little anagram (sorted) of  IS TO GET, giving a self-important person

18a Oriental version of “Messiah” with English ending substituted (7)
A nifty anagram (version of) MESSIAE (messiah with the “H” replaced by the “E” from the ends of the word English) giving someone from the country now called Thailand – but we don’t talk about Thai cats!

20a Lilac trimmed with electronic tool (7)
Another name for the Lilac is SYRINGA, trim the last letter and add E(lectronic) and you have a rather delicate tool, more an instrument, one type of which is a hypodermic

21a Design works independently of temperature (4)
PLAN (design) – PLAN (t) (works) without (independently) the T (temperature)

22a He was revered among robed ecclesiasts (4)
This Venerable gentleman is hidden in the clue

23a Daniel perhaps has reward on earth (5)
A lot of people erroneously think this Daniel died at The Alamo, along with Davie Crockett and Jim Bowie – BOON (reward) then E(arth)

26a Meryl short of rubles? Incredible! (5)
STEEP (incredible) – (Meryl) ST(r)EEP without the R of Roubles

27a Redirect having cut National’s fourth rate “Taming of the Shrew” (9)
TERMAGANT (shrew / a brawling, scolding woman) – a complicated anagram (redirect) of RATE TAM(i)NG without the I (National’s fourth / the fourth letter in National) – as I’ve said before, the English language is thick with derogatory terms for women; here we have two, one in the clue and the other as the answer

28a Resolution to confine fabulous treasure in protected area (6,7)
NERVE (resolution) around (to confine) an anagram (fabulous) of TREASURE giving an area of land specially managed and protected to preserve its flora and fauna

Down

1d Speedy delivery of stanchion to A1? (5-5,4) – [not (11,4) as given online]
FIRST-CLASS (A1) POST (stanchion) giving an allegedly speedy means of delivery

2d Girl’s earpiece not even beginning to annoy (5)
ERICA (girl) – EaRpIeCe (not even, i.e. odd letters) A (beginning to Annoy)

3d Stationery salesman’s record found in skip (5,5)
REP (salesman) EP (record) inside (found in) CAPER (skip) giving thin crinkled paper which you may buy in a stationery store

4d Spotted dick’s capital after digesting Ma’s eel (7)
D (Dick’s capital) after an anagram (digesting) of MA’S EEL, giving a spotty appearance

5d Dawn’s wake-up call to her offspring? (7)
A synonym for dawn that sounds like (indicated by “?”) son rise (wake-up call to her offspring)

6d Cooker’s right for making jelly (4)
A large, permanently-lit iron stove with multiple ovens followed by R(ight) gives a jelly prepared from seaweeds of various kinds

7d He may study evolution of Indian war (9)
An anagram (evolution) of INDIAN WAR gives a follower of a well-known theory of evolution – I don’t usually like a word being used twice, but here it works as you can read the clue as “he may study”, creating a clue with an &lit flavour

8d Risk a hurt from gross snake having ten teeth left, scarily (5,3,6)
GR(oss – another of the never-ending supply of abbreviations from Chambers) ASP (snake) followed by (having) an anagram (scarily) of TEN TEETH L(eft) giving a phrase that means to risk hurting yourself

14d Highly-strung help? (5,5)
The highly-strung get help from using this means of relieving mental tension

16d Battle with my German to follow the Spanish advance on the French (2,7)
MEIN (my, Gerrman) follows EL (the, Spanish) A(dvance) LA (the, French) giving a well-known battle of World War II

19d Horse starts to take erroneous routes on flat (7)
The first letters of (starts to) T(ake) E(rroneous) R(outes)  after EVEN (flat) to give the type of horse that may go round the course at Badminton

20d He played and she danced in clipper (7)
Younger solvers may be foxed by this one, but I loved it – SHEARER (clipper) – with reference to (George) Shearer, blind pianist and (Moira) Shearer, ballet dancer
SHEARER (clipper) – with reference to (Alan) Shearer, football player, and
(Moira) Shearer, ballet dancer – thanks for the correction, Peter, I check most facts but my memory let me down on this one

24d Broadcast put out in road with no end of wind … (2,3)
ON AIR (broadcast) – an anagram (put out) of IN ROA(D) without the “D” (with no end of winD)

25d … covers up predicament (4)
SPOT (predicament) – TOPS (covers) reversed (up)

Another fine puzzle, without a single duff or tenuous clue – I enjoy writing these up so much that it takes a lot longer than it does for a standard crossword.  I hope, once again, that the wait was worthwile.

Please leave any comments below.

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3 Comments

  1. Posted February 25, 2009 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    About 15% slower for me than today’s Times, which was about average difficulty. A nice set of long answers round the edge, and a puzzle that seems to be what the Toughie should be – harder than a typical DT cryptic but still within reach for most regular solvers, with no really obscure vocab (27A being an old xwd favourite).

  2. Posted February 25, 2009 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    20D: The pianist was George Shearing, so this must be about soccer star Alan Shearer, which in combination with Moira gives different generations one chance each.

    15A: I think the reversal indicator is just “back”, leaving “into shelter” as the def for LEEWARD – shelter itself being just LEE.

  3. Posted February 25, 2009 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    I stand corrected – the memory plays tricks some days. And I was going to see if I could find a clip on YouTube from Beauty and the Beat (with Peggy Lee)