Toughie 242

Toughie No 242 by Giovanni

Cooking the Books!

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

A really enjoyable challenge from Giovanni today, but it contained a rare flaw from our setter.  The answer to 4 down contained a misspelling.  However all is well now and a correct spelling and clue have been inserted.    I have known Giovanni for a number of years and on checking with him, and realising a slip had been made and being the professional he is, he was mortified. A quick exchange of mail and all resolved.   This didn’t distract too much from the overall puzzle, which was to his usual standard.

A good balance of all types of clue in the puzzle with a couple  of fairly tricky explanations.  However fairness is paramount at all times, and aspiring setters should study the wording and phrasing of the clues to see how he achieves the clever surface reading.

Have your say after the review, but do remember that new posters may wait a little while (sometimes a few minutes, possibly an hour or so) to have first posts approved.  This just prevents those nasty spammers from gluing up the works.  You can also rate the puzzle with the star rating.

[I have now been able to access the new version, but only from the Play Puzzles / Crossword Puzzles page, not from the home page. BD]


1a           Grandfather, one way or another? (3,5)
{OLD TIMER}  A clever double cryptic definition to start with.  A Grandfather can be two things.  A clock and a relative, and the definition fits both!

6a           Card game circle emerging from our community work (6)
{EUCHRE)  Our community work would be EU (our community) CH(O)RE without the O (circle emerging from) gives a card game

9a           The afternoon begins with reforms (6)
{AMENDS}  I think we had this a while back, but not as elegant as this.  If the afternoon begins (PM starts), then what has finished, i.e….  a word meaning reforms.

10a         Obvious moral story in which a king gets taken out by companion (8)
{PALPABLE}  A moral story is a PARABLE and if you take out AR (King) and place it by PAL (companion), you get a word meaning obvious.

11a         Individual is coming to island after break of day (8)
{DISCRETE}   D = break of day + IS  + CRETE (Island) = a word meaning individual or particular.

12a Very good protective material is free (6)
{SOLUTE}   SO (very good) + LUTE (clay, cement or other material used as a protective covering, an airtight stopping, a waterproof seal, etc) give a word meaning free.

13a         Hindu custom’s observed at start of party to bring comfort (12)
{SATISFACTION}  I checked with a Hindu friend who told me that SATI is another name for SUTTEE the Hindu funeral custom.  So we have a word sum of SATI’S + FACTION give a word meaning comfort.

16a         The female takes male name with husband being a writer (7,5)
{HERMANN HESSE}  Another word sum.  HER (The female) + MAN +  N ( male + name) + H (Husband) + ESSE (Being).  No surplus words or padding.  Beautiful.   Hesse was a German writer who created Siddartha and Steppenwolf (whose name was purloined by the seminal band)

Time for some music….  One of the first records I bought.

19a         Bring up in quiet flat (6)
{SMOOTH}  MOOT (to bring up) inside SH (quiet) gives a word meaning flat, even.

21a         Golfer carried in a No.5 wood (8)
[MAHOGANY}  The golfer is the Ben HOGAN inside MAY (Month No 5) to give the elegant sophisticated wood.

23a         Explorer without a single gun, an angel? (8)
{INVESTOR}  An explorer would be an INVESTIGATOR.  Take away I GAT (a single gun) and you get a theatrical “angel”, i.e. one who backs productions financially.

24a         Female going after gents? My word, a scrubber! (6)
{LOOFAH}  Nudge nudge, wink wink from Giovanni.   One that made me smile.  LOO (Gents? Note the question mark which is important.) + F (female) + AH (My word!).

25a         Mark poor work learner brought in (6)
{BLOTCH}  BOTCH (poor work) with L (learner) inside, gives a word meaning a mark.

26a         Material obtainable with money, notes (8)
{CASHMERE}  CASH (money) +  ME and RE (notes) = a material used in making warm coats.


2d           Effective restraint will bind devil, that’s clear (6)
{LIMPID}  Effective restraint =  LID with IMP (devil) inside gives a word often associated with pools and ponds..

3d           Leg in spasm? Here’s something from the chemist (5)
{TONIC}  Oh dear! The non-cricketers will start wailing.  LEG here refers to the ON side, so ON goes in TIC (Spasm)

[4d        Terrible snob, mater gets a cook (3,6)
This is the originally published clue which leads to an incorrect spelling of the answer]

4d        Cook could offer men sorbet (3,6)
{MRS BEETON}  Still a nice clue.  An anagram (could offer) of MEN SORBET gives the lady who wrote the seminal cookery work.    There is an online project to make the whole work available on line and here it is:

5d           Quash with iron again? (7)
{REPRESS}  If you iron something again , you could be said to RE-PRESS it, but as this is not strictly a word, Giovanni has included a question mark.

6d           What sex expert offers isn’t complete drivel — listen! (5)
{ELLIS}  The sex expert sought after here is Havelock Ellis.  It’s a hidden answer, concealed inside “complete drivel – listen”

7d           Lady is adorable, but a loose woman not of the upper echelons (9)
{CHARLOTTE}  “Adorable” is CUTE and “loose woman” is HARLOT inside.  If she was not of the upper echelons she would be NON-U (see previous references to U and NON-U), which means remove the U.

8d           Maybe father will get respect (8)
{RELATION} – a double definiion

13d         Quiet and somehow not solemn (9)
{SOMNOLENT}  An anagram (indicated by somehow) of NOT SOLEMN gives a word meaning quiet, restful.

14d         Dramatist creating hussy done up with lace (9)
{AESCHYLUS}  A Greek Dramatist who I think died when a bird dropped a tortoise on his head.  An anagram of HUSSY and LACE.

15d         Revolutionary period sees truncation of male reign possibly (8)
{GERMINAL}  Nice to see that the hackneyed anagram of MALINGER  wasn’t used.  Here we have an anagram of MAL (TRUNCATED MALE) + REIGN that gives a month from the French Revolutionary Calendar

17d         Grand house, fine for accommodating male or maiden (7)
{HOMERICHO (House) + M (maiden) + ERIC (male) HO (House) + M (Male or Maiden) + ERIC (a fine) [thanks Gazza]

18d         International exhibition a bit much (6)
{UNFAIR}  UN (international, United Nations) + FAIR (exhibition) =  a word meaning a bit much.

20d         Hair — with loss on top one gets to brood (5)
{HATCH}  Hair =  THATCH without its top on, so loses its first letter.

22d         Half of space allocated for meal — it’s curry (5)
{GROOM}  Half of DINING ROOM (space allocated for meal) gives a word meaning to curry as in groom a horse.

Thanks to Giovanni for a splendid puzzle and I’ll see you all next week.


  1. Prolixic
    Posted October 29, 2009 at 1:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Allegedly, the clue has been sent to A&E to be healed!

  2. Giovanni
    Posted October 29, 2009 at 1:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Not many people know what wonderful meals Cecil Beaton had cooked for him by his mother, do they? Sorry folks! New hasty clue has an anagram of men and sorbet

    • gnomethang
      Posted October 29, 2009 at 2:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for a fun puzzle! – I didn’t even think of the Spelling – it didn’t spoil my 13a!

      1a made me smile form the outset.

      • gazza
        Posted October 29, 2009 at 2:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Ditto on 4d – I just assumed that was the way her name was spelt.

  3. Prolixic
    Posted October 29, 2009 at 6:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Fantastic offering from Giovanni today – the upper right corner had me stumped for some time – 6a and 7d caused a groans when I finally unravelled them.

  4. gazza
    Posted October 29, 2009 at 6:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

    17d. I think that ERIC is a fine (Chambers has “the blood-fine paid by a murderer to his victim’s family in old Irish law”). That presumably means that Giovanni is giving us a choice of using Male or Maiden for the M.

  5. nanaglugglug
    Posted October 29, 2009 at 6:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A few too many names, but apart from that some very nice clues.

  6. CastorFool
    Posted October 29, 2009 at 7:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Very enjoyable.
    I agree with Gazza about 17d; but what about 7d? What on earth is the indication that harlot should be placed inside cute? I understand the non-U part.

    • gazza
      Posted October 29, 2009 at 7:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

      7d. I think that the indication is “but” – Chambers has one of its meanings as “without (obs)”.

  7. Big Boab
    Posted October 29, 2009 at 7:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Typical Giovanni, totally brilliant, he is the Master! I got lost on 12a for a while till I realised there was a bit of ink on my paper making me think the f was a t so I spent a morning trying to make a tree fit the clue. I loved 16a and 24a.

  8. gnomethang
    Posted October 29, 2009 at 10:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

    //The non-cricketers will start wailing. //
    And the Cricketers or those who follow the sport will not be very happy either:
    If we could all be upstanding on one leg for Umprire David Shepherd Obituary

    A proper cricket umpire.

  9. Giovanni
    Posted October 30, 2009 at 9:45 am | Permalink | Reply

    Many thanks for your kind comments. There’s an apology in the paper today. Looking back, I see that the spelling error comes from the database of the Crossword Compiler computer program I use ( normally very reliable). My nose should have twitched, of course, but I had no cause to look the good lady up in the dictionary to check out a definition. One thinks one has checked everything, but … !

  10. Libellule
    Posted October 30, 2009 at 10:19 am | Permalink | Reply

    I was late to this, busy day yesterday what with the blog and everything else, so got around to doing this one this morning. Seems everything is working properly now on cluedup. Those of you who did this yesterday can do it again for extra points :-) This is just what I expect from Giovanni. An excellent crossword.

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