Toughie 213 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 213

Toughie No 213 by Myops
A Three Pipe Problem

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

I reckon that even Sherlock Holmes would have been stretched by some of the wordplay in this one, but you do get a sense of satisfaction from unravelling some of these clues. Along the way I seem to have mislaid a couple of anagram indicators – if you can find them please let me know!
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Across Clues

1a  Bribe to lie in court or snub screws (6)
{SUBORN} – an anagram (screws) of OR SNUB.

4a  Tufts College as Poe described it (6)
{SCOPAE} – the plural of scopa (tuft of hairs on the back legs of bees) is produced from C(ollege) with an anagram of AS POE around it. If described here means surrounded, then what is the anagram indicator?

8a  Review Vatican City – and in Latin (3)
{VET} – V is the international vehicle registration code for Vatican City – add ET (and in Latin).

10a  C. American Indian or French N. American native (7)
{CARIBOU} – a charade of CARIB (native of Central America) and OU (or in French) produces this North American reindeer.

11a  Heeled shoe for professional dancers (7)
{HOOFERS} – an anagram (heeled) of SHOE FOR gets us professional dancers.

12a  It’s depressing if energy’s sapped to be burdened (5)
{LADEN} – depressing is LEADEN – remove the first E (energy’s sapped).

13a  It’s inevitable English men will be confused with studs (5,4)
{NEEDS MUST} – this saying, meaning that there’s no other way, is constructed from an anagram (will be confused) of E MEN and STUDS.

14a  Such as “You cannot hope to bribe or twist” in club, I report (13)
{INCORRUPTIBLE} – an anagram (twist) of IN CLUB I REPORT produces an adjective meaning cannot be bribed. The full quotation, ascribed to Humbert Wolfe, is “You cannot hope to bribe or twist (thank God!) the British journalist. But, seeing what the man will do unbribed, there’s no occasion to.”.

17a  Bet it’s nice and easy for founder of monasteries (5,8 )
{SAINT BENEDICT} – an anagram (easy) of BET IT’S NICE AND generates this founder of monasteries.

22a  Jerry for Jocks packs – with difficulty – lace (9)
{CHANTILLY} – I love “jerry for jocks” – CHANTY is a Scots chamberpot – put inside it (packs) ILL (with difficulty).
ARVE Error: need id and provider

23a  Knowing Nancy tickled (5)
{CANNY} – an anagram (tickled) of Nancy.

24a  Dependency of character from Uz in Old Testament (Job) (7)
{OUTPOST} – this has a clever surface reading because Job is said to have come from the land of Uz – put U (character from Uz) inside OT and add POST (job) to form a dependency.

25a  To perform without preparation is failing to make progress (7)
{IMPROVE} – start with IMPROVISE (to perform without preparation) and drop the IS (failing) to leave a verb meaning to make progress.

26a  50% of 20 or 80 or 90? All the same? (3)
{YET} – which three letters are contained in each of TWENTY, EIGHTY and NINETY? Arrange them to form a conjunction meaning however or all the same.

27a  Mock eiderdown the worse for wear now thrown out (6)
{DERIDE} – a verb meaning to mock is constructed from an anagram (the worse for wear) of EIDERDOWN without “now”.

28a  Move sinuously with sex-appeal. (Fancy her concealing that!) (6)
{WRITHE} – an anagram (fancy) of W(ith), HER and IT (sex appeal).

Down Clues

1d  Reaping-hook old Sicilian mentioned (6)
{SICKLE} – a Sikel (or Sicel) is a member of the Siculi, an ancient people that colonized Sicily. We want a homophone (mentioned) to get a reaping-hook.

2d  Russian composer could make do with … (7)
{BORODIN} – there was some discussion last week about whether running one clue into another (using the dots) has any significance, and the consensus was that in many cases it doesn’t. Well it certainly does here! – you need to solve the next clue and form an anagram (make) of its letters plus DO to get a Russian composer.

3d  … dressin’ bird that can sing (5)
{ROBIN} – dressing is ROBING, so dressin’ would be …

5d  Under belly of aircraft powdered snow is at first drifting. It may delay flight (9)
{CROSSWIND} – the belly (centre) of airCRaft is followed by an anagram (powdered) of SNOW IS and the first letter of Drifting.

6d  Wicked for example and in Paradise Lost originally dreadfully queer (7)
{PREQUEL} – inside the first letters (originally) of Paradise Lost put an anagram (dreadfully) of QUEER to get a follow-up to a book or film showing what happened before the original story. Wicked is an example, relating to The Wizard of Oz.

7d  Substitute bitter vetch at first sign of zoogonidia (6)
{ERSATZ} – a word for substitute, from the German,  is constructed from ERS (bitter vetch), AT and the first letter of Zoogonidia.

8d  What’s Achilles famed for? Virility, and for one bone. Ulna? No no (13)
{VULNERABILITY} – start with VIRILITY and replace one of the Is (for one) with BonE ULNA (without no, i.e. no no). Now make an anagram of the letters to get a word describing Achilles’ weakness. Again, I can’t see what the anagram indicator is meant to be.

9d  Old coin they’re devaluing with bent pin (10,3)
{THREEPENNY BIT} – an anagram (devaluing) of THEY’RE BENT PIN produces a pre-decimalisation coin. It would have been an even better clue had it been at 3d instead of 9d!

14d  Player against all others is possessive (3)
{ITS} – Memories of playing “it” in the school playground come flooding back, where whoever was “it” was playing against the rest. Add S (is) to get the possessive form.

15d  Bird-like model Dior hit on (9)
{ORNITHOID} – an anagram (model) of DIOR HIT ON produces an adjective meaning bird-like.

16d  Some having it after noon can’t, says Burns with grace (3)
{EAT} – this is the clue where the wordplay held me up longest, because I fell into the setter’s trap by thinking of George Burns and Gracie Allen. It’s a reference to the Selkirk Grace, which was not composed by, but was used by, Robert Burns. The clue is self-referential in that you need to put the answer after M (meridiem, noon) to get what it is that some have.

Some he meat and cannae eat,
and some wad eat that want it,
but we hae meat and we can eat,
so sae the Lord be thankit.

18d  Commercial fitting or linking device (7)
{ADAPTOR} – a charade of AD (commercial), APT (fitting) and OR.

19d  Croon? It’s not current and out of fashion, like these musicians (7)
{CONSORT} – an anagram (out of fashion, or fashion out of) of CROON IT’S with the I (current) removed gets us an old term for a group of musicians.

20d  Grant: half the man Jimmy Shand was (6)
{ACCORD} – Sir Jimmy Shand (1908 – 2000) was a bandleader and ACCORDionist.
ARVE Error: need id and provider

21d  Goddess born in Cyprus, everybody’s first love, when heart is lost (6)
{CYBELE} – the name of a goddess who embodied the fertile earth is made by putting B(orn) between CY (the IVR code for Cyprus) and E (first letter of Everybody) and LovE (with inside, i.e. heart, lost).

23d  Prance about (and shortly out?) (5)
{CAPER} – this is an attempt at an all-in-one clue – remove the N (short form of and, as in salt ‘n’ vinegar) from PRAnCE and make an anagram (about) of what’s left.

I liked 22a and 6d, but my clues of the day are the linked 2d/3d. What do you think? – please let us know via a comment.

11 comments on “Toughie 213

    1. Ranger Possibly – there’s not much else it can be really. But, if you take tufts as the definition, and “it” as referring back to college, then described is required to indicate “went round”, isn’t it?

  1. Oddly enough, we polished this one off far more quickly than yesterday’s apparently easy one – and with less Google and less crossing-out. That is, if you count completion as putting the right letters in the right boxes without fully understanding why!

    Particularly enjoyed 24a not just for the misleading surface reading, but also the Os and Ts all over the place made it tricky to fathom how the the wordplay worked.

    As for 4a, I don’t really have a problem with ‘described’ as an anagram indicator – but the superfluous ‘it’ irritated a bit.

      1. Indeed not Gazza, I’ve used it hundreds of times though I must admit mostly when I lived in England. I used to be called on regularly to Address the Haggis etc. at Masonic Burns Nichts, not so often now that I’m back hame as everybody knows it.

  2. Enjoyed this one, not least because I was able to complete some answers without really knowing why. 9d cause some consternation as being of a certain age I remember thruppenny bits and threepenny pieces. I never had a threepenny bit. Also figured that the Greek goddess was Cylene (CYPress, first Love and ne, born (masc)) and that the compiler MUST have spelt the name wrongly. (there are two LL’s in Cyllene) Made me feel quite superior for a while I can tell you.

    Only one visit to Merriam-Webster :)


  3. Regarding the anagram indicator in 8d, I worked on the basis that, since the clue opened with a question (What’s Achilles famed for?) then suggested an answer , culminating with “No no”, the second “no” was the hint to rearrange the wording as an anagram (albeit that the “no no” was also an instruction in resolving the anagram). Perhaps this demonstrates there is some substance to the old chestnut: “The use of the double negative is a definite “no no”!

    Perhaps a stronger indicator would have resulted from adding “breaking” between “one” and “bone”?


  4. One of the most convoluted puzzles I have seen. Didn’t recognize most of the anagram indicators as actually being indicators (e.g. heeled, easy powdered etc.) so didn’t get very far with it at all. Even with your excellent clues I found it hard going. Maybe I was having an off day !!

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