Toughie 316

Toughie No 316 by Giovanni

Teaching Ray and Me to Sing

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

Giovanni has given us a really good workout today. I found it enjoyable but tricky, being held up for some time in the top left-hand corner. There are a number of homophones, at least one of which (18a) is a bit dodgy but very amusing.
Your comments, on the puzzle, the review or anything else, are very welcome.

Across Clues

1a  Artificial bit in writing (not English) at start of dissertation (10)
{PROSTHESIS} – this artificial bit serves as a replacement body part (for a lost limb, for example). PROS(e) (writing without the E(nglish)) comes before (at start of) a synonym for dissertation.

9a  Amount of stuff obtainable from spy (4)
{MOLE} – double definition, the first being the SI unit of amount of substance (stuff), equal to the quantity containing as many elementary units as there are atoms in 0.012 kg of carbon-12 (so there you are, I hope that’s clear – please don’t ask me what it means!).

10a  Ray contributes to this system (5,3,2)
{TONIC SOL FA} – my (lame) excuse for taking so long to get this is that it’s normally written with the last two syllables hyphenated! Ray comes second in this system of music notation.

11a  Run into bumpkin in exit (3-3)
{LOG-OUT} – the way you’re supposed to exit from a computer application is constructed by putting GO (run) inside another word for bumpkin.

12a  Ring added to cake decoration (7)
{BUNTING} – put a noun or verb meaning ring after (added to) a type of cake to get festive  decorations.

15a  Let down when home gets swamped by river? (7)
{DEFLATE} – to let down (a tyre, say) is formed by putting a type of home inside (swamped by) the name of a river.

16a  Not entirely loyal golf star! (5)
{ALGOL} – a variable star in the constellation Perseus is hidden (not entirely) in the clue.

17a  Housing for instance (4)
{CASE} – double definition.

18a  In the audience, are you aware of goddess? (4)
{JUNO} – a homophone. If you say “d’you know?” (are you aware?) in a certain way, I suppose it does sound like (in the audience) this A-list Roman goddess, wife of Jupiter. Purists probably won’t like it, but it made me laugh!

19a  Policeman more good than usual comes across as wet (5)
{BOGGY} – for me this was an example of getting the right answer for the wrong reason. When I was doing the puzzle I assumed that this word meaning wet was formed by replacing the BB of bobby with GG. However, when I came to write the review I couldn’t make the wordplay stand up, so I had to think again. In fact the policeman is a BOGY and you have to double the G (more Good than usual).

21a  Hurry into bar, coming back clean and tidy (5,2)
{BRUSH UP} – a phrasal verb meaning to clean and tidy is made by putting a synonym for hurry inside (into) another word for bar or inn reversed (coming back).

22a  Area that could be tricky for teacher (7)
{HECTARE} – an anagram (tricky) of TEACHER gives us an area equivalent to 10,000 square metres.

24a  Betrays man protecting serving women in wartime (4,2)
{RATS ON} – the serving women in wartime were the Auxiliary Territorial Service. Put a shortened man’s name around (protecting) them to get a phrasal verb meaning betrays.

27a  Activity of ape in print (10)
{IMPRESSION} – double definition. One of the meanings of an ape is an imitator or mimic.

28a  Measure restricting university for a time in Jerusalem? (4)
{ELUL} – one of the months of the Jewish calendar (a time in Jerusalem) is formed by putting an old unit of measurement (which varied from place to place, but was supposed to be equivalent to six hand breadths) around (restricting) U(niversity).

29a  Coming down the line to this place, a dirty drunk (10)
{HEREDITARY} – an adjective meaning coming down the (ancestral) line is constructed from HERE (this place) followed by an anagram (drunk) of A DIRTY.

Down Clues

2d  Cross and ill-mannered by the sound of it (4)
{ROOD} – the answer is a cross or crucifix and it sounds like an adjective meaning ill-mannered or discourteous.

3d  Instrument driving wood into stone (6)
{SPINET} – this name for a small harpsichord with the strings set obliquely to the keyboard is constructed by putting a soft timber inside (into) the abbreviation for stone.

4d  Enthusiastic shout from MC briefly introducing girl (7)
{HOSANNA} – an exclamation of praise used in various religions is formed by putting HOS(t) (MC briefly) in front of (introducing) a girl’s name, that of the attractive Ms. Friel, for example.

5d  Mayor of Casterbridge’s act? Bigwig ditching wife (4)
{SELL} – In Thomas Hardy’s novel, Michael Henchard (later to become the mayor) auctions off his wife and baby daughter to a sailor for five guineas. A bigwig (e.g. a mayor) is a S(w)ELL, and he discards (ditching) W(ife).

6d  Collapse with lack of oxygen after accident? One’ll be found in the operating theatre (7)
{SCALPEL} – Remove the O(xygen) from C(o)LLAPSE and make an anagram (after accident) of what’s left.

7d  A carol singer ultimately out to be different with fanciful vocal passages (10)
{COLORATURA} – an anagram (to be different) of A CAROL (singe)R and OUT produces an elaborate ornamentation of a melody.

8d  Sound of heavy music with tot’s game (10)
{METTLESOME} – an adjective meaning high-spirited or game is constructed from two homophones (sound of), firstly of the second part of Heavy Metal (heavy music) and secondly of a verb meaning to tot (up).

12d  Part of the heating system not requiring immediate attention (4-6)
{BACK-BURNER} – double definition, the second where you might park something to be dealt with later when more pressing actions have been completed.

13d  Plant that looks silly in atrium — nuts! (10)
{NASTURTIUM} – an anagram (looks silly) of ATRIUM NUTS.

14d  Almost total cloudiness that comes with soft sticky stuff (5)
{GLOOP} – this thick viscous liquid (sticky stuff) is made up from GLOO(m) (almost total cloudiness) and P (piano, soft).

15d  Brass produces note that’s horrible! (5)
{DOUGH} – brass is a slang term for money and what we want is another such term, which is made from a musical note (I’m surprised that there is no cross-reference to 10a here) followed by an interjection meaning “that’s horrible!”.

19d  Water up north is hard? It’s smooth (7)
{BURNISH} – start with a Scottish stream (water up north) and add IS and H(ard) to get a verb meaning to polish (as the sun did to Joan Hunter Dunn in Betjeman’s love poem). Up north is a brilliant piece of misdirection here, making you think that it’s a reversal in a down clue.

Miss J. Hunter Dunn, Miss J. Hunter Dunn,
Furnish’d and burnish’d by Aldershot sun,
What strenuous singles we played after tea,
We in the tournament — you against me!

20d  Final day of reckoning? You may have a tear (4-3)
{YEAR-END} – Start with an old word for you and add a tear or rip to get the last day of an accounting period.

23d  Form of service for four or five in the afternoon? (3,3)
{TEA SET} – what the lapsang souchong is served in.

25d  Incentive to rush with little time to be lost (4)
{SPUR} – to rush is SPURT – lose the T(ime).

26d  Time when one escapes finally from alluring woman (4)
{HOUR} – remove the final I (one escapes) from one of the nymphs (normally described as doe-eyed) in the (very male-orientated) Muslim vision of paradise.

The clues I liked included 18a, 7d, 12d and 20d, but my clue of the day is 10a. Let us know what you think with a comment!


31 Comments

  1. gnomethang
    Posted March 10, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thoroughly enjoyed this one from Giovanni.
    16a and 19d were among the favourites.

    Thanks for the review gazza and Giovanni for the workout.

  2. Prolixic
    Posted March 10, 2010 at 12:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Many thanks to Giovanni for an enjoyable workout this morning. After a slow start, I got into Big G mode and only the top-right corner slowed me down until 7d fell into place. 5d was absolutely brilliant in terms of wordplay and fitting in with the story of the Mayor of Caterbridge. I also liked 1a, 19d (any many others)!

    Thanks for the notes Gazza,

  3. BigBoab
    Posted March 10, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Excellent crossword from the Maestro today, I liked 12d and 19d best. Thanks again Gazza for a super review.

  4. Jezza
    Posted March 10, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I can’t get my head around 15a. If ‘swamped’ means ‘filled with’, I keep thinking the 3 letter river should be on the inside of the answer, not the outside… Obviously just me being confused!

    • gazza
      Posted March 10, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Jezza
      I think that swamped here is more like “overwhelmed”.

      • Jezza
        Posted March 10, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Permalink | Reply

        That would make more sense! Thank you

  5. Posted March 10, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    ****+ in difficulty for me. I got the constituent letters for 7d, but still couldn’t solve the anagram. 19d was my favourite – the misleading direction, as pointed out by gazza, is a joy to behold. And 18a – hmmm, not sure about that, but OK, it raised a titter. How long did it all take you to solve, gazza?

    • Libellule
      Posted March 10, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

      According to CluedUp over an hour :-)

      • Posted March 10, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Libellule. As a tight Yorshireman I haven’t yet weakened enough to join CluedUp – a subscription to the DT & ST is quite expensive enought! What’s the main benefit of the on-line version, and do you think it’s worth the extra brass? Other views welcome.

        • Jezza
          Posted March 10, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

          There is little benefit if you are already buying the paper. If it is only the crosswords that you want, then there is a big saving to be had by subscribing to CluedUp.

          • Posted March 10, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

            Thank, good sir. I quite like the sports and letters pages, so I guess I’ll stick with hard copy, and continue to use BD’s Amazing Blog as my saftey net.

        • Libellule
          Posted March 10, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Digby,
          Since I live in France, and in a rural area, CluedUp is a must for me. Oherwise I wouldn’t be doing the crossword on a regular basis (something I have done for most of my life), and I certainly wouldn’t be contributing to the blog. CluedUp provides me with the crossword on the day that it appears, otheriwse I would have to wait at least a couple of days, drive about 40 miles and I “might” get a copy of the DT, assuming the other ex-pats haven’t snapped it up.

          CluedUp has its problems, the software has bugs (full points and fast times anyone?), elements of the website design are pointless (Top Puzzle Scores and Points), and every now an then it grinds to a halt. But I couldn’t do without it :-)

          • Nora
            Posted March 10, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

            CluedUp will not acknowledge its bugs. I had a lengthy exchange of emails with someone from the site about the fact that members were getting time bonus points when the time limit was long past. They never did come up with an answer. By chance I found out how it’s done! They ask members to play fairly, but wouldn’t it be better to close the loophole and make it impossible to play unfairly?

            • gazza
              Posted March 10, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

              Nora
              It’s not possible to force people to play fairly. For instance, someone could get all the answers from this blog, then key in all the answers in a couple of minutes.
              It only matters if you’re worried about times and points anyway.

              • Nora
                Posted March 10, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

                I agree, time and points don’t matter. I’m early retired, living in Spain, and I joined the site because I feel that crosswords help to keep my brain in gear. However, that doesn’t stop me getting irritated with cheats!

              • Jezza
                Posted March 10, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

                I for one am not the slightest bit interested in solving times on CluedUp… When you see 2minutes3seconds on a Toughie, you know it is purely a speed typing exercise. I am more interested in seeing how many people have completed the puzzle. When I see 8 people have completed the Toughie at 9 o’clock in the morning, I know it’s going to be a hard one. (Especially when included in those 8 are BD, Gazza, Libellule… etc)

            • Libellule
              Posted March 10, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

              Nora,
              It depends on your view of things, since I don’t care about the points I am not overly bothered about the bugs. Although as a professional software developer, I hate bugs and expect them to be fixed :-)

              • Nora
                Posted March 10, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

                I wonder why they won’t fix it – or even admit that the problem exists!?

                • Libellule
                  Posted March 10, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

                  Money?

            • Posted March 10, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

              Nora

              Libellule and I have discussed this on a number of occassions and, although we have no actual knowledge of how the site is run, it shows all the hallmarks of a combination of three main factors. Software that owes more to pretty design than it does to good programming and ease of use, lack of server power, particularly at certain times of the day and finally the whole lot is based on flaky database software that needs to be restarted periodically when it grinds to a halt. We have tried to guess the number of concurrent users by looking at the numbers who have completed the various puzzles and it would seem to be at most a few hundreds in any given hour. Modern software should be designed to cope with many times that. WordPress, on which this blog is based, run about 10,000,000 sites with vast numbers of users, so it can be done. Anyone who has worked in software development, like myself, Libellule and Gazza, will tell you that there will always be the odd glitch here and there but there is no excuse for the abysmal performance of CluedUp. Whenever I complain I am usually greeted with the Nelson response – I see no ships!

              • Nora
                Posted March 11, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

                I gave up complaining when I was told ‘I can’t help you any more’, which would have been fine if I’d received any helpful responses to my various emails! There’s only so much time I’m prepared to devote to banging my head against the proverbial brick wall, but there was a certain satisfaction in making a nuisance of myself for a while.

            • Posted March 10, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

              Read all about the wonderful site:

              http://www.worldarchipelago.com/2009/pages/telegraph-cluedup.php

              11,000 subscribers after 3 months – yet only 4,439 on the leaderboard after 18 months. And how many of those were free trials that did not result in sales?

              • Libellule
                Posted March 10, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

                Dave,
                Somewhere there is a blog where the developer of the software brags about what he has developed (don’t ask me where – I can’t remember) in Adobe something. Basically just remind me not to ask them to build a website for my company.

    • gazza
      Posted March 10, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Digby
      I don’t time myself, but it was too long. Libellule may be in the right ballpark. :D

      • Posted March 10, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Gazza – see my question to Libellule above – what’s your view?

        • gazza
          Posted March 10, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Digby
          It’s pretty much a necessity for me if I want to produce reviews at a reasonable time of the day. It saves me having to buy the paper just for the crosswords (if I wanted to buy a newspaper to read, it wouldn’t be the Telegraph!), so that’s quite a saving.
          Of course Clued Up would be better value if it was more reliable and if the response times didn’t resemble the movements of an arthritic tortoise.

  6. Jim
    Posted March 10, 2010 at 11:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Back on the clues – for 18a I had the Greek equivalent in for ages as by (un)happy chance she gives an equally terrible homophone answer (hear ‘er?)

  7. Harry Shipley
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    If you take the molecular weight in grams of any substance, you have the same number of molecules (the number being known as Avagadro’s number – 6.023×10 to the power 23) and it is known as a mole of that substance. Carbon has a molecular weight of 12 by definition, which is where the .012kg comes from. Does that help?

    Harry Shipley

    • gazza
      Posted March 11, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for trying, Harry. You’ve made me realise that mole has the same root as molecule, which I hadn’t twigged yesterday. Apart from that, it’s like a dense fog to me. To my surprise, I did manage to scrape through O-level Chemistry but I never really understood it.

  8. Posted March 18, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Tough but doable – good example of what this series should (I think) be aiming at. I imagined similar fake wordplay for BOGGY, and felt a chump for not getting 7D faster as the way into the NE corner – the classical music references are usually my forte.

    As a member of both, CluedUp is pretty much on a par with the Times club site. Both do a sound job of providing the puzzles, which is the main thing, but both leave issues undealt with for months or years at a time. I found the blog where the developer tralks about his work, and says “this is just phase one”. Phase 2 still hasn’t happened.

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