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Toughie 344

Toughie No 344 by MynoT

Alphabet Spaghetti

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

MynoT always has something clever in his puzzles and, having failed to notice the message around the periphery in his last puzzle, I was determined to spot the trick this time. He does give us a good hint in 6a – as well as producing a pangram containing all 26 letters, he has placed each letter in alphabetical order in the answers, so that 6a-26a in turn contain A-M and 1d-21d contain N-Z. As I usually do with MynoT’s puzzles, I found this one tough going, with my man Chambers on overtime, but there was a sense of satisfaction when the final answer went in.
Let us know what you thought of it in a comment.

Across Clues

6a  Setter’s 21 at heart, putting them all in order (13)
{PANGRAMMATIST} – MynoT (setter) tells us what he is by reference to the range of letters specified at the heart of 21d. In the rest of the clue he gives a hint as to what else we should be looking out for.

8a  Kindly and gracious spirit returns to occupy inner room (6)
{BENIGN} – apparently, in Scotland, BEN is not just a mountain, it’s also the inner room of a house. Reverse (returns) an alcoholic spirit inside it.

9a  Obtained a hundred and twenty-four sheets to put on end of bed (8)
{ACQUIRED}- the definition is obtained. String together A, C (a Roman hundred), a word for the twentieth part of a ream and the final letter (end) of beD.

10a  Loud noise is standard in Germany industry (3)
{DIN} – double definition, the second being a standard for connecting audio and video equipment (Deutsche Industrie Norm).

11a  Barrels only used by gunmen (6)
{SOLERA} – a charade of a word meaning only and the Royal Artillery (gunmen) gives us casks used in sherry production.

12a  Fake core ruined green nut (8)
{ECOFREAK} – this one made me laugh – it’s an anagram (ruined) of FAKE CORE.

14a  Dutch spirit is always to follow senior officer (7)
{GENEVER} – put a synonym for always after the abbreviation for a senior army officer to get a type of Dutch gin.

16a  Irish spirit is cause of misery enveloping woman (7)
{BANSHEE} – put a feminine pronoun (woman) inside a source or cause of misery.

20a  Agents in performance held by old Soviet police chief (8)
{BACTERIA} – these agents play a vital role in global ecology. Put ACT (performance) inside the surname of the much-feared head of the NKVD under Stalin.

23a  Prophet, priest and God (6)
{ELIJAH} – we want an Old Testament prophet. Put together an Old Testament priest and an abbreviation for the Hebrew God Yahweh (Jehovah), which is now used as the name of God by Rastafarians.

24a  Ray’s missing note in music (3)
{SKA} – start with a large fish of the ray family and remove TE (missing note) to leave a form of Jamaican music similar to reggae.

25a  Gentlemen concealed perverted goals (8)
{HIDALGOS} – these Spanish gentlemen are made from a verb meaning concealed followed by an anagram (perverted) of GOALS.

26a  Shudder about death with time coming to the fore (6)
{TREMOR} – start with RE (about) and an old English (and current French) word for death, then move the T to the front (time coming to the fore).

27a  Frenchwomen pool drink in NW town (9,4)
{ELLESMERE PORT} – this industrial town at the southern end of the Wirral peninsula is the site of a large Vauxhall car plant. String together a French feminine plural pronoun (Frenchwomen), a synonym for pool or lake and a fortified wine (drink).

Down Clues

1d  Local poverty: not a cent (8)
{INDIGENE} – remove the C (not a cent) from a word meaning poverty or need to leave a term (noun and adjective) meaning native or local.

2d  Old French movement collecting silver leaves (8)
{FRONDAGE} – put the chemical symbol for silver inside (collecting) the name of a 17th century insurrection in France which led to a civil war. The answer means palm or fern leaves.

3d  Enter on list: ‘Redcap’s found one in fish’ (7)
{EMPANEL} – we want a verb meaning to enter the names of prospective jurors in a list. Put the abbreviation for a military policeman (redcap) and AN inside a fish. The surface reading doesn’t make any sense.

4d  Prohibition announced for Scottish founder of dynasty (6)
{BANQUO} – we want a charade of a prohibition and a Scottish verb (short form of quoth), meaning said or announced, which often appeared at the end of a poem followed by the poet’s name. This should give us the name of a character who appeared in Shakespeare’s Macbeth and who in real life was thought to have been the ancestor of the Stuart dynasty.

5d  That is to say that is right official (6)
{VIZIER} – we want two abbreviations from latin which mean virtually the same thing. The first is an abbreviation of videlicet (namely, that is to say) and the second an abbreviation of id est (that is). Finish off with R(ight) to get a high official in Muslim countries at one time.

6d  Before start of evening pub returns flower and gets another to represent as a feature of life (13)
{PHENOMENALISE} – the definition is represent as a feature of life. It ends with the first letter (start) of Evening, but before that we need the abbreviation for a public house, a plant of the buttercup family which has to be reversed (returns) and another flower, this time a shortened form of fleur-de-lis.

7d  Part of Henry V’s rousing description of soccer? (3,5,5)
{THE GAME’S AFOOT} – double definition, the second cryptic.

I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!

13d  Not all the money needed for enjoyment (3)
{FUN} – start with a sum of money that has been accumulated and drop the final D (not all) to leave a synonym for enjoyment.

15d  Struggle for some viewers (3)
{VIE} – when doing such a puzzle as this one you feel grateful for a gimme – hidden (some) in the clue is a verb meaning to struggle.

17d  Dread of woman on the windward side (1-7)
{A-WEATHER} – this term means on the windward side and if you redefine it as (3,2,3) it could read as a word meaning reverential wonder or dread, AT and a feminine pronoun (woman).

18d  Loge for five girls? (5,3)
{SPICE BOX} – cryptic definition of a container in which to keep aromatic substances used as condiments.

19d  To circulate on island, this will get you everywhere (7)
{PASSKEY} – a verb meaning to put into circulation (e.g. counterfeit coins) is followed (on, in a down clue) by a low-lying island or reef, especially in the Caribbean (there being some well-known ones in Florida). The definition is something that will open all doors.

21d  Plant note about misplaced zeal (6)
{TEAZLE} – the seventh note in tonic-sol-fa surrounds (about) an anagram (misplaced) of ZEAL to get a plant with prickly flowers.

22d  Rose carpet of South America (6)
{RUGOSA} – a sort of carpet precedes the abbreviations of O(f) S(outh) A(merica) to get a SE Asian rose with dark green wrinkled leaves and deep pink flowers. Chambers seems to be unaware of this word, so it’s fortunate that the wordplay is straightforward.

The clues I enjoyed today included 16a, 23a, 25a and 7d, but my favourite (by a mile) is 12a. Let us know what you think in a comment.

14 comments on “Toughie 344

    1. I had to come back to the blog to finish this – a few words that were new or extremely forgotten to me.
      Agreed on 12a being favourite – I was thinking “There cant be an anagram out of that!” but when I wrote it in the circle ‘freak’ came out, I tied it up with nut and then got the green bit.

      Thanks for the review gazza and thanks to MynoT for the workout

  1. Interesting spread of clues, 4 of which were beyond my ken without your help, good Gazza. Particularly liked 7d.

  2. The only polite word for this one is “Crumbs!”. Some great clues but I really needed Big Dave’s help with this one. Is this Friday’s one (normally the hardest day) turned up early?

  3. Thanks Gazza for the review, I got nowhere without your clues. Got off to a bad start by putting azalea at 21d then went downhill by putting prepubescence at 6d and never really recovered. MynoT is simply too good for me, but I will keep trying.

    1. BigBoab, as a matter of interest I looked back at the last MynoT and my first words were ‘EPIC FAIL’ and you shared those sentiments!.
      Having seen both our comments today I think we were a bit better but still it appears that we share a common nemesis!

  4. Not my cup of tea at all! Either I’m really slow this evening or getting lazy. Thanks Gazza!

  5. I did not have time to look at this yesterday, and reading through the blog, I would have struggled on it !!
    Re 10a (the second definition), I am unconvinced by the audio/visual connector. I understood DIN to be the German organisation for standardization which covers many different industries and technologies. For example, a fixing bolt would conform to DIN standard 931.

    1. Jezza
      The blessed Chambers has for DIN: a standard system of plugs and sockets used to connect domestic audio and video equipment.

      1. Point taken about the definition in Chambers, and I am aware of the audio/video reference, but to me the surface reading of the clue points to DIN being the standard for many different fields, not just one. However, as is often the case, (as my wife tells me) I am normally wrong :)

        1. Having now re-read the clue (which I should have done before), I think that you’re right. It’s probably just in this country that DIN is mainly associated with audio/visual connectors.

          1. Photographic film was (and probably still is – haven’t bought any for years) rated in both ASA and DIN.
            Gazza – after reading your review yesterday, I didn’t bother tackling this one, and went over to the Grauniad instead…

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