Toughie 165 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 165

Toughie No 165 by KciT

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

This is another good Toughie which is not as difficult as some, but is full of well-constructed and entertaining clues.

As Big Dave mentioned in his Toughie review last Friday, we are changing our approach to the Toughie reviews slightly, on the basis that solvers at this level do not need to have every nook and cranny of the wordplay explained. You’ll notice that for some of the more complicated clues I’ve still explained the wordplay in full, whereas for others I’ve just given general hints. I should really appreciate getting feedback as to whether I’ve got the blend right or not. If there is anything that needs further explanation please mention it in a comment and I’ll try to expand on it.

Across Clues

1a  Lack of sincerity in tournament directors, nothing more (8-4)
{CUPBOARD-LOVE} – a phrase meaning feigned affection (lack of sincerity) is a three syllable charade.

9a  Prince, one in legendary castle, recalled description of solar system (9)
{PTOLEMAIC} – The legendary castle which we need is the home of King Arthur – reverse it (recalled), insert I (one) and precede it with P (prince) to get a view of the cosmos as propounded by this second century Greek astronomer.

10a  Boy penning a line for literary gathering (5)
{SALON} – this term for a literary gathering was a regular meeting of writers and intellectuals at the house of a prominent socialite.

11a  Area of water included in church’s garden feature (6)
{CLOCHE} – the area of water required here, to be put inside an abbreviation for church, is what the Scots call a lake.

12a  Reduced time with lower quantity of information (8 )
{DATABASE} – string together DATe (time, reduced) and a verb meaning to degrade or lower to get this structured information, normally held on computer. For once lower is nothing to do with cows!

13a  Aggressive behaviour remains high? (4-2)
{DUST-UP} – a minor scrap (aggressive behaviour) is constructed from a word for remains (think of the funeral service “dust to dust and ashes to ashes”) and UP (high).

15a  Standard trouble about a second watersport item (8 )
{PARASAIL} – put together a word for standard (on the golf course, for example) and a verb meaning to trouble around A S(econd).

18a  This writer gives way after first appearance of racing car (8 )
{MERCEDES} – this writer is ME – add R(acing) and a verb meaning gives way to get a make of car.

19a  Leader of government suppressing memory for now (3,3)
{PRO TEM} – what we want is a latin phrase meaning for the time being (for now).

21a  Scientist’s first equipment shattered this, being unsteady (8 )
{SKITTISH} – a word meaning unsteady or excitable is constructed from S(cientist), a word for equipment and an anagram (shattered) of THIS.

23a  Ski resort gets emptied a bit – avalanche’s heading in (6)
{GSTAAD} – the name of this very exclusive ski resort in Western Switzerland is constructed from the outside letters of GetS and a word for a bit with A(valanche) inside.

26a  Ready to relax by end of day (5)
{LOLLY} – ready here is short for “ready cash”.

27a  I behold endless devastation back in war zone (9)
{GALLIPOLI} – the site of a major campaign in the First World War where each side suffered heavy casualties is constructed from I, LO and PILLAGe (endless devastation) all reversed (back).

28a  What could make you uneasier than debilitation? (12)
{NEURASTHENIA} – a clever all-in-one clue with the name of this illness being an anagram (debilitation) of UNEASIER THAN.

Down Clues

1d  Just like a superhero to secure company in part of Massachusetts (4,3)
{CAPE COD} – think of how a lot of superheroes and crusaders are clothed and insert CO (company) to get the name of this peninsula in Massachusetts.

2d  Concert getting zero advertising material (5)
{PROMO} – the abbreviated name for the annual concerts instituted by Sir Henry Wood in 1895 has O added to get a type of advertising material.

3d  Ring flat cancelling time for free access (4,5)
{OPEN HOUSE} – put together O (ring) and a luxury top-floor apartment (flat), then remove the T (cancelling time) to get free access.

4d  The way staff will cluster round one (4)
{ROAD} – staff here is a thin bar used as a symbol of office.

5d  What busy vacations seem to do, unfortunately (8 )
{LACKADAY} – an archaic expression of regret (unfortunately) is also a cryptic description of what your holidays are missing to make them even better.

6d  Permission to travel to take in the Northern view (5)
{VISTA} – the travel document which you need to enter some countries contains T (first letter, i.e. northernmost letter in a down clue, of The) to get a synonym for view.

7d  Attractive meadows – long to go round them? (8 )
{PLEASANT} – put a verb meaning to long for (or to breathe heavily) around meadows to get a synonym for attractive.

8d  Lunar rocks filled with energy? Incredible (6)
{UNREAL} – put E (energy) inside an anagram (rocks) of LUNAR to get another word for incredible.

14d  Elevated words, certainly, about bird life initially (8 )
{SURTITLE} – a caption projected on a screen above the stage at an opera to let you know what the performers are singing about is constructed from SURE (certainly) around a bird and L(ife).

16d  Rock group excited the Maoris (9)
{AEROSMITH} – an anagram (excited) of THE MAORIS produces the name of this rock group.

17d  French composer getting the story right (8 )
{MESSAGER} – Kcit seems to specialise in fairly obscure French composers (he introduced us to Canteloube in an earlier Toughie). Luckily the wordplay makes this one fairly easy to get, even if, like me, you’ve never heard of him.

18d  Start to mark cryptic clue’s strength (6)
{MUSCLE} – add an anagram (cryptic) of CLUE’S to M(ark) to get a synonym for strength.

20d  Created one recipe, getting a type of cake (7)
{MADEIRA} – a simple charade produces the name of this rich sponge cake, so called because it used to be eaten with the white fortified wine of the same name.

22d  Name of herb occurring in sentence on the radio (5)
{THYME} – a sound-alike (on the radio) of a prison sentence gives us the name of a herb.

24d  A lot of hackneyed stuff in housing classification (5)
{ACORN} – this is the name of a geodemographic method of classifying housing for marketing purposes into 11 categories and 49 sub-categories ranging from “Wealthiest middle-aged couples, many investments” to “Poor pensioners, queuing for cash”. Each postcode in the UK has been assigned one of these codes – do you know what yours is? The term is made up from A and old-fashioned, banal and hackneyed things.

25d  A woman saying farewell to son sadly (4)
{ALAS} – a young woman loses one S(on) to leave a term for sadly.

I liked 13a, 26a and 5d, but my clue of the day is 1d. Let us know your opinion via a comment.


2 comments on “Toughie 165

  1. Gazza, your approach is just fine for me, keep up the good work. What you call easy and what mere mortals call easy are definitely two different things, I thought this was a stinker and without your hint for 24d, I would have been totally lost. I liked 1d & 1a.

  2. Found it extremely hard work – we only managed about 50% without help!!
    New approach fine, though, and we’d have been stymied without it!

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