Toughie 312 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 312

Toughie No 312 by Kcit

Deciphering the Enigma

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

I was progressing steadily through this puzzle, but at the last hurdle was held up for some time by 29a, a reminder to me of how important it is to read every word of the clue carefully, and the reason I’ve given it four stars for difficulty rather than three. Apart from that I thought that it was a fairly average, typical Toughie.
As always we’d love to get your views – please leave a comment!

Across Clues

3a  How some riders travel round quiet road near city? (6)
{BYPASS} – put the method of transport of some riders (on the beach perhaps) round P (quiet) to get a ring-road.

6a  Summon odd bits of beer and cake (4)
{BECK} – put together the odd letters of BeEr and CaKe to get a verb (short for beckon) meaning to summon (and also most of the name of a famous German beer).

8a  Liquor? Duke tucks into very acceptable article (5)
{VODKA} – put D(uke) inside V(ery), OK (acceptable) and A (indefinite article).

9a  Fossil? Outrageous losing old rocks on board (11)
{STEGOSAURUS} – “on board” indicates that the outer letters of the answer are SS. Between them put an anagram (rocks) of (o)UTRAGEOUS (losing the O(ld)). I’m not sure what the surface reading is meant to convey.

10a  Behold display of raging river (5)
{LOIRE} – join together a short word meaning behold and a synonym for anger (display of raging) to get the longest river in France.

11a  Explosive takes care of confectionery (5,6)
{JELLY BABIES} – a charade of an informal word for gelignite and a verb meaning takes care of or pampers will give you these sweets.

16a  Wartime machine repelled a bomb, limiting opening for Germany (6)
{ENIGMA} – reverse (repelled) A MINE (a bomb) and insert (limiting) the opening letter of G(ermany) to get the German enciphering machine of WWII. The codebreakers at Bletchley Park regular broke the supposedly unbreakable codes used by these machines, to play a major part in shortening the war.

17a  Talk endlessly about little time to produce flower (5,3)
{SWEET PEA} – Put SPEA(k) (talk endlessly) around a synonym for little and T(ime).

19a  Composer airs his gripe with variations (8 )
{RESPIGHI} – an anagram (with variations) of HIS GRIPE produces the name of an Italian composer (hitherto unknown to me). “airs” seems to be present purely for the surface reading.

20a  The Terminator, clearly without heart, dull, not fashionable (6)
{CYBORG} – The Governor, in his most famous film role, was one of these. Start with the outer letters (without heart) of C(learl)Y and add BOR(in)G (dull without IN).

22a  Components of case fee fixed after male’s taken in (6-5)
{CHARGE-SHEET} – a list of what an accused person is being tried for in court (components of case) is made from a synonym for fee, followed by a word meaning fixed with HE (male) inside (taken in).

25a  Single woman, subject of ancient tax? That’s not new (5)
{WIDOW} – the ancient tax, roughly based on the size of one’s property and first introduced in 1696, has its N removed (not New) to leave a woman who is once again single. Gerard Hoffnung told of a mix-up between these two words in a foreign hotel brochure, but I can’t find that clip so here’s an even funnier one detailing a bricklayer’s description of why he needs sick leave.

27a  Extra payment to sort out enemy dragon? (6,5)
{DANGER MONEY} – an additional payment for exposure to risk is an anagram (sort out) of ENEMY DRAGON.

28a  Nervous adolescents with misplaced energy? (5)
{TENSE} – start with a word for adolescents and move one of the Es around (misplaced energy) to get a synonym for nervous.

29a  To move aside, though not initially needing to (4)
{SHUT} – this is the last answer I got and the one which caused me most problems. The definition is that little word “to” lurking inconspicuously right at the end of the clue. The reason that I was held up was that I was looking for a word from which to remove the initial letter of To, but, in fact, it’s the first letter (initially) of Needing that has to be discarded from a verb meaning to move aside (often used to mean diverting rolling stock to another track).

30a  Fool in school becoming telltale (6)
{SNITCH} – we want a synonym for fool inside (in) an abbreviation for school.

Down Clues

1d  Shape of violets and lilies primarily (4)
{OVAL} – this shape is made from the initial letters (primarily) of four words in the clue.

2d  European waterway — it’s area acid polluted (8,3)
{ADRIATIC SEA} – this expanse of water in Europe is an anagram (polluted) of IT’S AREA ACID.

3d  Extreme sport requiring you to be high — or low, apparently (4,7)
{BASE JUMPING} – this extreme sport requires one to launch oneself off earthbound (and therefore relatively low) objects, such as skyscrapers or cliffs, with an inbuilt parachute.

4d  Excluding T bone in Spanish dish (6)
{PAELLA} – excluding T bone should really be read as “excluding T from bone” or “bone (excluding T)”. You get the first Spanish dish that most people will think of by taking the T from a kneecap.

5d  Immediately gripped by second cry from bird (5,3)
{SNOWY OWL} – immediately is NOW. Surround (grip) this with S(econd) and a verb meaning to cry or wail.

6d  Lack of clarity with British promotional material (5)
{BLURB} – something that cannot be seen clearly (lack of clarity), and also the name of a defunct band, is followed by B(ritish) to get promotional material (as written on a book cover for example).

7d  Oil company’s head dispensing with courtesy (5)
{CRUDE} – unrefined oil is made from the first letter (head) of Company followed by an adjective meaning impolite (dispensing with courtesy).

12d  Why battery’s failing in Welsh resort (11)
{ABERYSTWYTH} – an anagram (failing) of WHY BATTERY’S generates this Welsh seaside resort.

13d  Quick-witted comedy with one impression? It’s extravagant (11)
{IMPROVIDENT} – follow an abbreviation for quick-witted and unscripted comedy with I (one) and an impression or hollow to get an adjective meaning lacking foresight.

14d  Unwilling to be seen without a good trimming ultimately, being this? (6)
{SHAGGY} – a semi-all-in-one requires a word meaning unwilling to be seen being put around (without) A, G(ood) and the last letter (ultimately) of trimminG.

15d  Satisfied with most of a heap of verses? (6)
{METRIC} – combine a verb meaning satisfied (a demand, for example) and most of RIC(k) (heap) to get an adjective meaning consisting of verses.

18d  Church crudely means to suppress second bishop? (8 )
{CHESSMAN} – start with an abbreviation for church and add an anagram (crudely) of MEANS with an S (second) inside (to suppress) to end up with a bishop maybe (or possibly a king).

21d  Seed plant no Scots raised in position (6)
{PEANUT} – reverse (raised) a Scots word for no inside a verb meaning to position.

23d  Sun moves from covering moorland (5)
{HEATH} – start with a covering (for a sword, possibly) and remove the initial S (Sun moves) to leave a moorland.

24d  Just clever, having no need of book (5)
{RIGHT} – a word meaning just or equitable is made by removing the initial B (no need of Book) from a word meaning clever or quick on the uptake.

26d  What sounds like a process for milk product (4)
{WHEY} – a word that sounds (vaguely!) like a synonym for process or method is the watery part of milk that was so much enjoyed by young Ms. Muffet.

The clues I liked included 17a, 29a, 14d and 18d, but my favourite was 28a. Leave us a comment, telling us what you thought of it.

18 comments on “Toughie 312

  1. Exactly your problem gazza, second last to go just before the composer and would count 29a as my favourite for that definition alone.
    I thought the rest was pretty straightforward apart from having to go look for the composer (even knowing the anagram doesn’t help a lot here!.)
    Still enjoyable with some fun wordplay.
    Thanks for the review and to Kcit.

    1. gnomethang
      Luckily Bradford lists 8-character names of composers in alphabetical order, so having R?S…… helped a lot!

      1. Yup, I have a decent Anagram Finder app that, although it needs T’Internet connection, is good at finding Proper Nouns for composers and films and the like. I allow myself this if it is clear that it is becoming a GK issue even with the wordplay elements

  2. 29a. Still not sure where the to comes in. Unless its because its at the end of the clue (to close)?

        1. Seems like we all agree that 29a was the one to sort out the chaps from the teens. Not being sure (till I read Enigma’s debrief) why RIGHT was right for 24d didn’t help. Overall very fair. Liked 6a – as well as to summon, and a beer, it’s also a Norse word for stream. As in Gilling Beck, which flows through my North Yorkshire village.

      1. I knew I had seen something like this before, and after a bit of searching found the answer in T 282!

        12d Early-closing scheme one closed animatedly (3,7)
        CON SPIRITO – a word meaning “to scheme” minus its last letter, then I (one) and TO (cleverly defined as “closed” as in “pushed the door to”).

  3. Ditto regarding 29a, although now another word with similar checking letters comes to mind.
    Was also held up with 22a as I had originally read 15d as an anagram of verses ( heap of ) to give a word that means satisfies i.e. serves.Finally worked it out though.
    Thanks for the hints Gazza

  4. Enjoyable fare, straightforward with the obvious exception of 29a. I liked 11a and 20a.

  5. Gazza,

    If my memory serves me well, the Gerard Hoffnung quote for 25a is “there is a French widow in every bedroom, affording delightful prospects”!!! He sadly died in his mid-thirties, but left a wonderful legacy.

    Thanks for the clip and the review and to kcit, too. 11a bought a smile …

  6. Ditto 29a – I’d guessed it correctly (you know when you hit ‘Submit’ on CluedUp) then came here for explanation. Very cleverly written clue, beautifully disguising the definition.
    Otherwise, favourites were 27a and 15d. Very enjoyable Toughie providing what I like in a Cryptic crossword. I don’t want my brains fried on a daily basis – yesterday’s was a struggle…..

  7. Enjoyed this one . Thanks for the analysis which cleared up doubts about 15d 24 d and 29ac.
    I had the “tens” as adolescents with an “e” on the end but much prefer your obviously better reading.
    Two successive toughies within my grasp means that they are getting easier…or maybe….
    Favourite clue was 19ac because his “Pines of Rome” is known in our horn section as the “Pains”…(as in labour pines!)…on account of its difficulties…so the anagram with gripe was brilliant.

  8. Running behind the pace today and had to do this in the odd moments between meetings. Fortunately, it was fairly straightforward (29a being an honourable and delightful exception)! Many thanks to Kcit and to Gazza for the notes.

  9. Turned to this tonight as could not get near today’s toughie. Finished all bar 3 with no help at all. I think this is about the limit for me. Thoroughly enjoyable challenge. 1 of these a week would be nice.

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