Toughie 309 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 309

Toughie No 309 by MynoT

Brush up your Shakespeare!

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

It’s not unusual for MynoT to provide an education as part of his puzzles. Today’s lesson includes Shakespeare’s Othello, French and Greek history, motor cars and their drivers and Anglo-Saxon servants.

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6a    Ruler who lost his head to issue oil in chaos at the borders of Zimbabwe (5,5)
{LOUIS SEIZE} – this French ruler who was executed by guillotine on 21 January 1793 is created from an anagram (in chaos) of ISSUE OIL followed by ZE (the borders of ZimbabwE)

8a    Sounds like a jump round which everything revolves (4)
{AXLE} – this sounds like a jump in ice skating, but is the rod by means of which a wheel turns

ARVE Error: need id and provider

9a    Speedy flight with wingless insect up (9)
{SKEDADDLE} – this second appearance in three days for a speedy flight , not the fault of the setter, is built up from KED (wingless fly) in the SADDLE (up) – one of those love-em-or-hate-em constructs, and wingless fly sound like an oxymoron but it really is true

11a    Following bird that’s loose (4)
{FREE} – combine F(ollowing) and the alternative spelling of the reeve to get a word meaning loose

12a    Six advanced by way of road (3)
{VIA} – the Roman numerals for six are followed by the abbreviation for advanced, as in A-levels, to get a word meaning either “by way of” or a road

13a    Wife who was murdered (goddess consuming evil spirits tail first) (9)
{DESDEMONA} – this character from Othello who is murdered by her estranged spouse is built up- by putting DEA, the Latin for goddess (Deus is a God), around DEMONS (evil spirits) after first moving the S to the beginning (tail first) – surprisingly Dea only appears in Chambers as an acronym

16a    In shelter demonstration fails to start (4)
{ROOF} – this shelter is derived by dropping the initial letter (fails to start) from a demonstration in the sense of evidence that convinces the mind – q.e.d. (quod erat demonstrandum) means “which was to be demonstrated”

17a    Condition is reversed about dust on forge (7)
{FASHION} – the condition is IF – reverse this around the dust left behind after a fire and then add ON to get a word meaning to forge

18a    Food for public parks (7)
{COMMONS} –a word for food, especially at an Oxford college, can also mean public parks

20a    One who’s crazy about skate … (4)
{MAID} – take I (one) and put a word meaning crazy around it and you get a name for a young skate

21a    … can stay to play regardless of consequences (2,3,4)
{AT ANY COST} – an anagram (play) of CAN STAY TO gives a phrase meaning regardless of consequences – other setters might take note of the unambiguous cluing of this phrase

23a    Finally you fell somewhat short last month (3)
{ULT} – the last leters (finally) of yoU felL somewhaT give a short term, used in correspondence, for ultimo mense (in the last month) – others worth remembering are inst. (instante mense / in the present month) and prox. (proximo mense / in the following month)

24a    Damon, perhaps, in car without attendant (4)
{HILL} – the name of a former F1 champion can be generated by dropping MAN (attendant) from an obsolete make of car (remember the Minx?)

25a    Club’s high quality hard white earthenware … (9)
{IRONSTONE} – a charade of IRON’S (clubs of the golf variety) and a word meaning high quality give this hard white earthenware

29a    …where one eats pie (4)
{MESS} – a clever double definition – where one eats, typically in the armed services, or pie, , a term used in printing for type that is in a mixed state

30a    Place for putting in “English Poetry” endlessly popular pieces (10)
{EVERGREENS} – take a place for putting on a golf course and insert it inside E(nglish) and a word meaning poetry, without its final letter, to get these popular songs


1d           Take recipe from doctor on ship: it’s easily done (4)
{DOSS} – take R, the abbreviation for recipe, from DR (doctor) and then add O’ (an abbreviated form of on) and SS (ship) to get a task that is easily done

2d           Life has a new start when one becomes this (4)
{WIFE} – change the first letter  of LIFE (a new start) to get someone making a new start

3d           Body parts found under Pelion? (4)
{OSSA} – the Aloadaes are said to have attempted to pile Mount Pelion upon Mount Ossa in order to scale Mount Olympus

4d           Airs moving at several knots or one knot (7)
{WINDSOR} – currents of air are followed by OR to get the kind of knot used in tying a tie

5d           Depressed stomach in Balmoral, perhaps (4-6)
{BLUE-BONNET} – a word meaning depressed (not down this time) is followed by the second stomach of a ruminant to get a Scottish peasant (or a round flat blue woollen cap)

7d           Able to raise tax on gold in European currency rarely (9)
{ELEVATORY} – a word meaning able or tending to raise comes from VAT (tax) and OR (gold) inside E(uropean) and LEY (a rarely used form of leu, the standard monetary unit of Romania and Moldova)

8d           Car squashed a mole outside Portuguese city (4,5)
{ALFA ROMEO} – this car is built from an anagram (squashed) of A MOLE outside the Portuguese city of FARO

10d         Dandy almost dishonoured (3)
{DUD} – almost DUD(E) (dandy)

13d         Made play with dames: Triad cut up rough (10)
{DRAMATISED} – this would normally be described as wrote a play, but that would have given the game away too easily – it’s an anagram (rough) of DAMES TRIAD

14d         More than one table held cue broken in extremes of stress (9)
{SCHEDULES} – more than one schedule (table)! – put an anagram (broken) of HELD CUE inside SS, the extreme letters of StresS

15d         Awakening memories of octave I’ve lost (9)
{EVOCATIVE} – a word meaning awakening memories is an anagram (lost) of OCTAVE I’VE

19d         Transfer without a penny for City (7)
{HANOVER} – HAN(D)OVER – that’s an old penny, of course!

22d         Boat for jazz fan (3)
{CAT} – double definition

26d         Leo’s cross (4)
{SIGN} – a double definition referring to the Zodiac and marking with a cross

27d         Nothing to write with in clear space (4)
{OPEN} – a charade of O (nothing) and PEN (to write)

28d         Domestic servant’s regularly messenger (4)
{ESNE) – the even letters of messenger give an old Anglo-Saxon domestic servant or slave

A few weakish clues near the end, but overall I enjoyed this puzzle.  Since the domestic servant and the penny are out-of-date usage, a small hint to that effect would not have gone amiss.

12 comments on “Toughie 309

  1. Just finished, after a break halfway through to go to the dentist’s. This Toughie was a bit of a headache rather than toothache, some super clues though. I was sort of waiting for BD’s down clues analysis, as I was completely lost with 1d. Had to eventually ‘buy’ the first letter on CluedUp in order to finish as was fed up of staring at 2 blank spaces in a 4-letter word. Still don’t see it, and my battered and foxed 1952 Chambers hasn’t helped.

    1. Just for you, I’ve put up the first few downs!

      I was unsure what to say about 1d – using abbreviations like o’ for on and ‘s for is often causes problems

      1. Many thanks BD – it was looking like it had to be those 4 letters – I already had the O and the S, and I’m well used to DR and SS. I’ve never come across the word in the sense of easy task (perhaps my life has been one of too much hard graft, instead) and neither of the two dictionaries I have (ancient Chambers and slightly less ancient Collins) list that definition. Is it in the newer Chambers? Absolutely don’t like O for ‘on’, but would be perfectly happy with O for ‘of’.

        1. We do both seem to think along the same lines!

          It is in the latest Chambers:

          * a bed, sleeping-place (esp in a dosshouse)
          * a sleep
          * a task very easily accomplished
          intransitive verb
          * to sleep
          * to go to bed
          * (with around) to lead an idle or aimless existence

  2. This is proving a really good week for Toughies where each one has lived up to the name. Many thanks to MynoT for today’s challenge. Like the Chairman, I wondered about 1d. For 9a, the definition of “up” as IN the saddle to work as both an indicator for the word play and the container word was sneaky, but it raised a smile when I saw the explanation.

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