Toughie 229 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 229

Toughie No 229 by Messinae

An Abomination of Clergy

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

After yesterday’s divertissement we’re back on track today with a good solid Toughie, which seems to have a theme relating to religion, retribution, the occult and horror. It has some good surface readings with a few smiles along the way.

Please let us know your opinion via a comment.

Across Clues

1a  Stand over fairground’s top attraction (8 )
{BESTRIDE} – double definition, the second cryptic.

5a  Maker of horror films with more overacting (6)
{HAMMER} – double definition – the name of a British film company, known as the House of Horror, which produced many gory films with names such as The Brides of Dracula. This word is also, although I cannot believe that anyone would use it in this way, the comparative form of HAM, which Chambers confirms can be used as an adjective meaning given to overacting.

10a  What could produce scared mood — wolf’s constant threat (5,2,8 )
{SWORD OF DAMOCLES} – this constant threat over ones head is an anagram (could produce) of SCARED MOOD WOLF’S.

11a  Ringer? A mixed-up creature (7)
{CHIMERA} – put A after something that rings to get this scary mythical beast which looks as though it was made of parts left over from other animals.

12a  Clergyman in vessel to succeed (7)
{PREVAIL} – put REV (clergyman) inside a container. Here’s my very best clergyman joke:

The new vicar was coming out of his church one day when he heard a great wailing coming from the corner of the churchyard. Intrigued and concerned, he hurried to the spot to find a man draped over a gravestone, crying his eyes out and shouting “Why did you die?” over and over again. Assuming his best pastoral manner, the vicar tried to calm him down.
– There, there, my son, take it easy. Is this the grave of your wife?
– No, it’s not why wife. Why did you die?, O why did you die?
– Well, is it a close family member?
– No, it’s not a relation. Why did you die?, O why did you die?
– Is it a close friend then?
– No, I never met him. Why did you die?, O why did you die?
– Well who is it then?
– It’s my wife’s first husband.

13a  In place of accused find English Father — punish him? (7)
{DEFROCK} – put E(nglish) FR (father) inside the place where the accused stands in a criminal court and you get what might happen to the reverend gentleman if he’s found guilty.

15a  Archbishop once in place of worship (6)
{TEMPLE} – the third clue in a row with religious connotations. This is a simple double definition – it’s the name of someone who was archbishop of both York and Canterbury (though not at the same time!) in the inter-war years.

19a  A Nazi unit to suffer attack (6)
{ASSAIL} – a charade of A, the standard abbreviation of Schutzstaffel and AIL (to suffer).

20a  Craft displayed in small cocktail (7)
{MARTINI} – put ART (craft) inside a word meaning small.

23a  Army man organised military dictatorship (7)
{MYANMAR} – an anagram (organised) of ARMY MAN gives the official name of the country which we all know as Burma.

25a  After big match tucked in with a will (7)
{TESTATE} – put together the name given to an international match (at cricket, say) and ATE (tucked in).

27a  Old punishment with blades provides forms of security (6,3,6)
{STOCKS AND SHARES} – combine an old device for securing miscreants in public (where they had abuse and worse thrown at them) with the blades on a plough to come up with a term for investments.

28a  Frozen plain fish — doctor tucks in (6)
{TUNDRA} – the definition is a frozen Arctic plain.

29a  Grass court’s No.1 after playing well (8 )
{INFORMER} – No. 1 is our head of state, i.e. ER. Precede this with IN FORM (playing well).

Down Clues

1d  Cut in half making second separate portion (6)
{BISECT} – the definition is to cut in half and to get it you make SEC (second) divide (separate) BIT (portion). Beautiful surface reading!

2d  Whose sins could produce extravagance? (9)
{SHOWINESS} – an anagram (could produce) of WHOSE SINS.

3d  Take horse round grand crest (5)
{RIDGE} – take horse is RIDE. Put G(rand) inside.

4d  Snubbing of French intended (8 )
{DEFIANCE} – put together DE (of, in French) and a male betrothed person.

6d  Film nominated for Oscar unanimously by people with judgement finally (9)
{ATONEMENT} – the name of this Oscar-nominated film starring Keira Knightley is constructed from AT ONE (unanimously), MEN (people) and the final letter of judgemenT.

7d  Island producing whisky of highest grade (5)
{MALTA} – well, it’s not grade B Malt.

8d  Settled what you have to do with clue left out (8 )
{RESOLVED} – what you have to do with this clue has RED (left) outside.

9d  Marx got American TV presenter aroused (5)
{HARPO} – the Marx brother who never spoke is a neat reversal (aroused) of the daytime TV star.

14d  Who could make one build marine ark? (9)
{RAINMAKER} – a partial all-in-one – it’s an anagram (could make one build) of MARINE ARK.

16d  Pagan term translated as magic symbol (9)
{PENTAGRAM} – an anagram (translated) of PAGAN TERM produces this magic symbol which featured heavily in the occult novels of Dennis Wheatley.

17d  Monkey master trained taking little time (8 )
{MARMOSET} – an anagram (trained) of MASTER has MO (little time) inserted to get this small squirrel-like monkey.

18d  Old elephant from Burma’s to do nothing (8 )
{MASTODON} – hidden (from) in the clue is an extinct elephant-like animal.

21d  Open highway of minor importance (5)
{BROAD} – this highway is not a motorway or an A-road…

22d  Elaborate screen one used in High Church (6)
{CENSER} – an anagram (elaborate) of SCREEN gives a container in which incense is burned in a religious ritual.

24d  Fruit — one with the makings of meal (5)
{ACORN} – put together A and CORN (makings of meal, i.e. powdered grain).

26d  Clumsy person Louis Armstrong shunned one time (5)
{SCHMO} – take the usual nickname of Louis Armstrong, which is a shortened form of Satchelmouth, and remove the A (one) and T(ime) to leave a derogatory Yiddish word. I’ve found definitions of this word meaning dull, stupid, boring, obnoxious and a jerk, but not clumsy (?).

I liked 13a, 1d and 8d, but my clue of the day is 29a. Let us know your views, and please remember to vote below on the enjoyment factor of the puzzle.

11 comments on “Toughie 229

    1. Agreed.
      I git stuck halfway through the DT, switched to this then rattled it off, returned to the DT but still have 3 to go. Wierd old train journey today – I thought that they had swapped the puzzles.

      1. I also found this one pretty straight forward, certainly easier than today’s cryptic. However although I question Gazza’s ***’s for difficulty, the enjoyment factor is correct. There were some great clues in this Toughie, something sadly lacking from yesterdays. Oh and welcome to the club bugmacsub :-)

      2. When I wrote this review I had not done the Cryptic – now that I have, I have to agree that it is harder than this one (as well as being brilliant!), but it should really be a Toughie.
        That’s not to say that this one is as easy as is being suggested! – we’ll wait for a few more comments….

  1. Hello, sorry to comment in the wrong place but DT26,053 isn’t up yet – can I ask a question about today’s cryptic grid?
    14D shows 7 characters on the grid, the clue is “A farm employee, I am randy, dreadfully!”. Seems to be an obvious anagram of “I am randy”, but that’s 8 characters…..I don’t want to keep going if the grid’s wrong??! Thanks for any help

      1. Doh!!!! I wonder if the setter did that deliberately just to confuse us newbies. Paranoid, moi?
        Thank you.

  2. I enjoyed this, a pleasing mixture of really easy and quite obscure clues, not difficult but enjoyable. I liked 19a and 7d best.

  3. I really enjoyed this. I agree with previous comments that the cryptic was harder than the toughie today. My favourite clue wass 14d.

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