Toughie 295

Toughie No 295 by Cephas

Could this have been a Saturday puzzle?

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Definitely one of the better puzzles from Cephas. I, for one, would like to see this level of puzzle being used for the Saturday Prize crossword.

Leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


Across

1a    One strips off reflectively, in a dream? (6)
{ASLEEP} – start with A (one) and then reverse a word meaning strips off and you get the state in which you need to be before you can dream

9a    No longer available from Mark (3,2,5)
{OUT OF PRINT} – a cryptic definition of the status of a book that is no longer available from a publisher (mark) – more false capitalisation following yesterday’s States!

10a & 11a Team ordering synthetic cream (10,4)
{MANCHESTER CITY} – a team from the (light) blue area of a place in the North West – ordering being the anagram indicator

12a    Sweetheart initially going to Ireland (4)
{GIRL} – this sweetheart comes from G(oing) and the IVR code for Ireland

14a    Pass to first person below and cast-off (4-2-4)
{HAND-ME-DOWN} – an item of clothing passed to a younger sibling

17a    Sit through lecturer having a drink (4,3)
{LAST OUT} – a phrasal verb meaning to sit through is built up from L(ecturer) and A Guinness

18a    Worshipping false rain-god (7)
{ADORING} – RAIN-GOD is such an obvious anagram (false) of this word meaning worshipping that I am surprised that I have not seen before

20a    In which small notes are recorded? (6,4)
{MINUTE BOOK} – a cryptic definition of where important meetings are recorded

21a    Look at all times after first light (4)
{LEER} – a sly, sidelong or lecherous look that is created by putting e’er (ever, poetic / at all times) after the initial letter (first) of Light

22a    Stand or sit (4)
{REST} – a double definition

23a    Provided with information held by violent despot (4,6)
{KEPT POSTED} – this expression meaning provided with information is a combination of a word meaning held and an anagram (violent) of DESPOT

25a    Pen for another good entertainer sounds OK (5-5)
{GHOST-WRITE} – this word meaning to pen for someone else is constructed from G(ood) followed by a person who entertains a guest at his house and then a word that sounds like right (ok)

26a    Rogue horse started late (6)
{ROTTER} – to get this rogue you have to remove the initial letter (started late) from a horse – perhaps one owned by Del Boy & Rodney!

Down

2d           Game’s up before four play air on violin (10)
{STRADIVARI} – A well-known pub game is reversed before the Roman numeral for four and an anagram (play) of AIR – I think the definition is slightly incorrect in that the answer is the name of the most famous maker of violins in the world and the instruments themselves have –us added to that name

3d           Poetic not to translate poem! (4)
{EPIC} – an anagram (translate) of P(O)E(T)IC without the letters of TO give a long narrative poem

4d           Energetic person might reach home (10)
{POWERHOUSE} – straightforward charade of words meaning might and home give this energetic person

5d           Way a termite initially and another insect were standing on four feet! (7)
{STATANT} – string together ST(reet) A T (Termite initially) and one of Crosswordland’s two favourite insects, and it’s not a bee, and you get a, new to me, word meaning standing on four feet

6d           Set coming from Far East maddeningly distant (4)
{AFAR} – take the letters of SET away from FAR (E)A(ST) and then find an anagram (maddeningly) of what’s left to get a synonym for distant – a similar construct to that used in 3d; a lot of setters use words like separately to indicate that it is the letters of the word that need to be removed, not the word itself

7d           Record Paul removed of method of conducting business (10)
{PROCEDURAL} – an anagram (removed) of RECORD PAUL gives a method of conducting business

8d           Remain wearing single corset? (4,2)
{STAY ON} – a part-cryptic double definition – it’s a bit like a single trouser, it doesn’t exist, hence the question mark

13d         After having fired, has to set off indicator (6,4)
{LITMUS TEST} – put together a words meaning “set fire to” and “has to” and follow them with an anagram (off) of SET and you get an indicator known to anyone who studied chemistry at school

15d         Dirt’s on one fish or another (10)
{MUDSKIPPER} – a charade of wet dirt, the ‘S and a herring split open and cured (or a male salmon during the spawning season) produces another fish, a goby found in Africa, Japan, etc., able to remain out of water and move about using its fins

16d         See Rechabite start outside the cloth (10)
{WINCEYETTE} – put EYE (see) and TT (teetotaller / Rechabite) inside WINCE , start in the sense of to recoil, to get this cloth, frequently used for nightwear

19d         Ancient city ceremony that is in the ascendant, I concluded (7)
{POMPEII} – the ancient city that was devastated by the eruption of the volcano Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD is built up from a word meaning ceremony, IE (that is) reversed (in the ascendant as this is a down clue) and I

20d         Motorway madness seen in desert? (6)
{MIRAGE} – Britain’s foremost motorway is followed by the kind of madness often associated with motorists to get something that can be seen in a desert

23d         Fruit grounded down under (4)
{KIWI} – a double definition of a fruit and a flightless bird

24d         It supports the chairman (4)
{SEAT} – I put this into CluedUp and pressed submit more in hope than expectation and was surprised to see the “puzzle completed” screen – a very tired final clue

Today, with a few exceptions, Cephas proved that he can compile a decent puzzle.  Not really a Toughie but this level would be ideal for Saturday.

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18 Comments

  1. gnomethang
    Posted February 2, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    I think you are probably correct BD. The only problem for me was 16d which I eventually gave up on and plugged into a small electronic friend – even now I’m a little bit distracted by ‘start = wince’.
    The rest was a reasonably straightforward hard DT, if you know what I mean!
    2d was favourite for me!

    • gnomethang
      Posted February 2, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      I know that ‘wince’ = ‘start’ is in Chambers Thesaurus – I just have never heard of it!

  2. Prolixic
    Posted February 2, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Likewise on 16d – I wanted to put in Winchester as a see linking it to the cloth but could not see how. Only when none of the other clue would then fit did I look for other alternatives. Now all I need to do is to learn how to spell winceyette (where are my pyjamas!)

    Good puzzle by Cephas and a gentle start to the Toughie week. 2d was my favourite.

  3. Chris
    Posted February 2, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    This was a toughie that was not too tough….so suited me fine.
    Not convinced about 24 down….if what I’ve got is right it seems a bit feeble.

    • gnomethang
      Posted February 2, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      You have got it right and I agree – its not a classic!

      • Chris
        Posted February 2, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        Thanks….that’s real ESP!…how did you know what I made it….?

        • gnomethang
          Posted February 2, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

          ‘cos I just KNOW!. Naah – had to be the only answer really!

          • Chris
            Posted February 2, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

            OK
            one more thang…why the moniker..me just wanted to gno…
            (no offence)

            • gnomethang
              Posted February 2, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

              I was (and still am) thewizenedgnome, as a moniker from school days (my friend was the Cabbage Patch Assassin – dont ask). It just got truncated to gnomethang which is handy as it is unlikely to be used for usernames on T;Internet – except by me!

              • Chris
                Posted February 2, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

                Thangs.

              • Posted February 2, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

                gnomethang / thewizenedgnome

                Belated congratulations on winning last week’s DIY COW competition. I did have my suspicions that you might be one and the same!

                • gnomethang
                  Posted February 2, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

                  Thanks, when I said hi to the newcomers I did mention I was a gnome as well over here!

                  • Posted February 3, 2010 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

                    … and not forgetting Frosty The Axe-Wielding Snowman!

                    Coming up to North for a drink anytime soon, Baz?

                    • gnomethang
                      Posted February 3, 2010 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

                      HAH!
                      At the risk of hijacking this thread (and indeed the whole ‘Blog), may I introduce the Cabbage Patch Assassin?.
                      You must realise that he has a number of spurious search algorithms on the Web that alert him to key words in proximity to each other.
                      Karl:
                      Def up for a rendezvous. Judging from the Tigger I will find your WordPress account and will contact you tomorrow (if I cant then get hold of Sozza!).

                      Now stop stalking me.

                    • Posted February 4, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

                      A somewhat belated welcome to the blog, Karl

                      I hope you received gnomethang‘s email address that he asked me to send to you.

  4. Posted February 2, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Liked 10 / 11A – similar to “Bolton Wanderers” the other day. Still trying to win the pen on Saturday (managed the consolation notepad a few months ago) but on the point of throwing down my pen in disgust at how easy it has become. What is the DT trying to do – harvest email addresses so they can bombard us with junk marketing? I agree with Dave – something like today’s Toughie is the level they should aim for in order to sort out the wheat from the chaff. Great blog, by the way.

  5. Mike (Touchwood)
    Posted February 2, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable – maybe a little on the easy side but at least that meant I could finish it unaided. Quite happy with 16d – for some reason the answer came very quickly – guess it’s just one of those word that’s either in one’s “easy reach” vocabulary or it isn’t. I agree 24d is weak – one of the last to go in and disappointed with it. Overall though very satisfying. Favourite for me was 10/11a – I like clever anagrams.

    • Posted February 2, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      Some time ago I proposed Big Dave’s Law – every good puzzle is allowed at most one naff clue. 24d is it !!