Toughie 328

Toughie No 328 by MynoT

Weights and Measures

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BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment **

I can’t pretend that I enjoyed this puzzle very much. In fact it was a bit of a slog with a fair few obscure words and not many laughs. You may, of course, disagree – we’d love to get a comment with your views.

Across Clues

7a  Office worker’s god is London lawyer (7)
{TEMPLAR} – put together a temporary office worker and LAR (Roman household god) to get a lawyer with chambers in the Temple in London.

8a  Stop a lecturer that’s 100kg (7)
{QUINTAL} – a word which used to mean a hundredweight (112 lbs) but now means 100kg is formed from an organ stop followed by A L(ecturer).

10a  Sun could be normal in unusually hot tropical period (5,5)
{SOLAR MONTH} – we have to start with S(un) and follow this with an anagram (could be) of NORMAL inside a second anagram (unusually) of HOT. We end up with one-twelfth of a tropical (or astronomical) year.

11a  In Europe count a king among the Spanish (4)
{EARL} – a British nobleman of equivalent rank to a European count is made by putting A R(ex) inside the Spanish definite article.

12a  Example of ancient bit of sculpture destroyed (8 )
{INSTANCE} – an anagram (destroyed) of ANCIENT and S (bit of S(culpture)).

14a  In old uniform spirit is motive force (6)
{ENGINE} – put the sort of spirit that comes in a glass inside ENE (an old way of spelling e’en or even, meaning uniform).

15a  Support in election resolved into merrymaking (11)
{CELEBRATION} – put BRA (support) inside an anagram (resolved) of ELECTION.

19a  By fifty-one lakes in France we’ll gather them in spring, perhaps (6)
{LILACS} – start with the Roman numerals for fifty-one and attach the French word for lakes to get what Ivor Novello wrote about gathering in the Spring. Here’s an unorthodox version of his song:

20a  Flourishes of Bulgarian kings having no right to consume port (8 )
{CADENZAS} – Bulgarian kings were called Czars. Remove the R (no right) and put a Middle Eastern port inside (to consume) to get virtuoso passages or flourishes by a solo instrument or voice.

22a  Frigid leman somewhat vain (4)
{IDLE} – a word meaning vain is hidden (somewhat) in the clue.

23a  Mark one who galloped from Ghent to Aix (10)
{EVANGELIST} – the answer is someone who brings good news and this applies both to the writer of the second Gospel (Mark) and one of the horsemen who brought good news from Ghent to Aix in Browning’s poem.

25a  Time in French city for apples (7)
{RENNETS} – put T(ime) inside the name of the capital city of the region of Brittany to get some old varieties of apple.

26a  Bait and handle contemptible creature (7)
{LUGWORM} – something used as fishing bait is a charade of LUG (handle) and a worthless, contemptible creature.

Down Clues

1d  Famous woman taking two drugs (7)
{HEROINE} – a charade of two drugs produces a brave and admired woman.

2d  Homer had several. Elephant has one (4)
{EPHA} – a homer is a Hebrew dry measure, equal to ten of what appears once in elEPHAnt.

3d  Charlie’s design on one member of group like alligators (6)
{CAIMAN} – an alternative spelling for a crocodilian animal, similar to alligators, which is native to Central and South America. Start with C (Charlie, radio code letter) and add a synonym for design or purpose and AN (one).

4d  Most reedy attempts in groove (8 )
{RUSHIEST} – put attempts (to try to win a coconut, for example) inside RUT (groove) to get a very unlikely-sounding superlative meaning most full of reeds. I’ve no idea what the surface reading is trying to convey.

5d  Take in petticoat, being insufficiently developed (10)
{UNDERGROWN} – put R (take) inside the type of garment that a petticoat is to get an adjective meaning developed less than normal.

6d  In going astray one finds jewelry (7)
{EARRING} – put A (one) inside a present participle meaning going astray or making mistakes.

9d  Damaged car air inlet between races (11)
{INTERRACIAL} – an anagram (damaged) of CAR AIR INLET.

13d  What Katisha would have hoped to be, had she been Russian (10)
{TSESAREVNA} – In the G&S comic opera The Mikado a female character called Katisha hoped to marry Nanki-Poo and thus become the Princess Diana of Japan (i.e. wife of the crown prince). Had this happened, and had she been Russian rather than Japanese, this is the title she would have had (or, at least, one of the many anglicised spellings of that title).

16d  Enclose nuts, Prime Minister (8 )
{ENSHEATH} – the definition is to enclose – put a word for units of measurement in printing (for which nuts are an alternative) in front of a Prime Minister of the 1970s. I presume that the surface reading is meant to be a recommendation to the PM that crazy people should be incarcerated!

17d  Record about one that’s cunning and insincere (3-4)
{LIP-DEEP} – put an old vinyl record around I (one) and add an adjective meaning cunning to get a description meaning insincere. I’ve never come across this, but I presume it means that a person’s sincerity doesn’t extend past what they say.

18d  Composer of amorets (7)
{MAESTRO} – an anagram of AMORETS (love songs) gives us another word for a composer.

21d  Dutch disease brought to light (3,3)
{DUG OUT} – an abbreviation for Dutch is DU. Add a disease that affects the big toe to get a phrasal verb meaning brought to light or unearthed.

24d  Mosaic code’s new fabric (4)
{LAWN} – put what was laid down by Moses (Mosaic code) in front of N(ew) to get a type of fine linen (fabric).

I liked 15a and 21d, but my favourite clue today was 5d. Let us know your views via a comment.

19 Comments

  1. gnomethang
    Posted March 31, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    EPIC FAIL!.
    I got about 50% through this and simply couldn’t get any further. Having looked through your review (Thanks!) I did miss a couple of sitters but there was too much in there that I think was beyond me without resort to cranking wordsearches.
    I did have the Browning poem loaded but did not have time to read through it for the answer!.
    Thanks gazza and thanks to Mynot for putting me in my place!.

    • BigBoab
      Posted March 31, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      Totally agree gnomethang, too deep for me with some of the clues, would never have got 8a, 2d,13d or 21d without assistance. Thanks Gazza for a great review and thanks to Mynot for stretching what little brains I have.

  2. Prolixic
    Posted March 31, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    I got there in the end with a lot of perserverence and a little bit of help on 13d. I quite enjoyed the challenge set by Mynot today. With the exception of seven or eight of the clues, most were in place by the time i reached the office and the others gradually teased themselves out with a lot of checking back to Chambers for some more unusual words.

    In relation to 13d, dear old Mynot deserves a special award for going beyond the bounds of duty of obfuscation in setting a cryptic definition to a very obscure word by reference to a “relatively” unknown character in a G&S opera. I’d never come across the term lip deep for someone who is insincere before, but at least the answer to this could be acheived from the wordplay.

    With the notable exception of 13d, many thanks to Mynot for the challenge and many thanks to Gazza for the notes.

  3. nanaglugglug
    Posted March 31, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Only managed about 10 without any help-and agree with you Gazza – not a lot of laughs and a big sigh of relief when finished! Quite educational, though – never heard of 2d or 13d

  4. Harry Shipley
    Posted April 1, 2010 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    23a

    Am I missing something? Is the idea simply that an EVANGELIST is one who brings good news? If so, them it seems bit weak, with no sense of the personal conviction which the dictionary definitions carry in them.

    Harry Shipley

    • gazza
      Posted April 1, 2010 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      Harry
      The word gospel comes from Old English godspel where god means good and spel means story or news.

  5. Werm
    Posted April 1, 2010 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Well after the success of Tuesday I came crashing to earth with a very loud thump on this one. Way beyond me . Can I please ask, how many can solve this level while sitting on a train say? i.e. without reference books, chambers etc?

  6. Derek
    Posted April 1, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    I started this puzzle early this morning and got around 80% done but had to abandon it (temporarily) due to arrival of post and packages. Carried on at about an hour ago and virtually finished it. I say virtually as I wrote “evangelist” in for 22a without much sense to myself. Spent a lot of time researching Browning’s poem and was looking for a proper name to shove in!
    Gazza, I think your explanation is a bit wide of the mark!
    Crossword licence not poetic!

    Best for me were 15a25a & 26a and of course 12d.
    Must now go see if today’s DT has arrived.

    • gazza
      Posted April 1, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      Derek
      I’m not clear on what you think is wrong with my hint on 23a. The original meaning of Evangel was “good news”, so an evangelist is someone who brings good news, and Browning’s poem is about horse riders who brought good news from Ghent to Aix.

  7. Mike (Touchwood)
    Posted April 1, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Hmm – thought I’d posted but seems to have got lost in the ether.

    didn’t have time yesterday so doing this today – got 5d but don’t understand where the “R” comes from? Can anyone elucidate? Or am I being particularly dense today?

    • gazza
      Posted April 1, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Mike
      R is an abbreviation for Take (from latin recipe)

    • gnomethang
      Posted April 1, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      The R is a recognised abbreviation for Recipe which is Latin for Take, as in “take 2 eggs…..”

    • Mike (Touchwood)
      Posted April 1, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      Thanks again for that – one I’ve not seen before.

  8. Derek
    Posted April 1, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Dear Gazza.
    Re 23a again. I know that Mark one is a lead to the Gospel of St. Mark so from that point of view your explanation is OK.
    However, Browning admitted that there was no historical, factual base to his poem – it is to some extent a nonsense poem so I think that MynoT has somewhat gone off the tracks with the clue!
    So much has been written about Ghent to Aix and no one knows what the news was in fact.

    All we know is that they killed the horses. Bit like the Grand National sometimes.

    • gazza
      Posted April 1, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      We don’t know what the news was, but we do know that it was good, because it says so in the title of the poem.

  9. MynoT
    Posted April 7, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Did no one see the quotation round the edge (April is the cruellest month) with Eliot diagonally from cruellest?

    • Posted April 7, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the glob (sic), MynoT

      Looks like we all missed it!

    • gazza
      Posted April 7, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      Sorry! – It is difficult to spot unless you know where to start!

    • Libellule
      Posted April 7, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      MynoT,
      Just went back and checked it over for the quotation. Its there – no doubt – but that is a real tough one to spot.