Toughie 345

Toughie No 345 by Giovanni

Enjoyable Stuff

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Apologies for the lateness, a variety of reasons, I’m afraid.

A Curate’s Egg of a puzzle today with a fair smattering of new from our Friday Favourite. There were some clues I liked, but one or two that I thought not up his usual high standard. I’m not keen on the grid, as there’s only one way into each corner.

As usual, you can have your say after the blog, and you can mark the puzzle using our star system.

1a    Member in B&B requires something for toast and fruit loaf (9)
{BARMBRACK} A member in Crosswordland usually means either a politician or a part of the body, and it is the latter here. An upper limb goes inside two B’s, and add to this a place to put your toast. This will give you a delicious fruit loaf from the Emerald Isle.

9a    To get a duck somewhere on WI tour? (6)
{TOBAGO} Nice cricketing allusion here. WI refers to the West Indies rather than the Women’s Institute. TO + a word meaning to catch in a hunt + O (for duck) gives a popular place in the Caribbean.

10a    Sweetener? As what you’d expect — insipid (9)
{ASPARTAME} Another Word Sum. AS + (What you’d expect to achieve as a minimum in golf) + a word meaning insipid or bland = a type of sweetener that is an alternative to saccharin.

11a    Useless person with trendy garment (6)
{JERKIN} A name for a useless person (also in the title of a Steve Martin film) goes before IN (trendy) to give a type of cardigan.

12a    Against racket being made by worker in French river (9)
{ANTINOISE} “Worker” in crosswords usually means an insect, as it does here. Add to it IN and the name of a French river that’s a tributary of the Seine

13a    Writer swallowing small stone in restaurant (6)
{BISTRO} An abbreviation for stone (the first two letters goes inside) the name for a type of pen.

17a    Money Sweden brought out, a note (3)
{DOH} A slang word for money (DOSH) loses S for Sweden and gives the first note of the scale.

19a    Bull’s compound (7)
{TAURINE} Double definition. Think of a word meaning like a bull (as in the Sign of the Zodiac} that is also a quartz compound.

20a    Angered terribly, giving a warning (2,5)
{EN GARDE} The first anagram of the day. Unscrambling the letters in ANGERED gives you a phrase that is uttered at the start of a fencing match.

21a    Soft or flabby salmon (3)
{LAX} A new meaning to me. A word that means soft, flabby or without rules is a type of salmon. I had heard of LOX being a Jewish dish of smoked salmon.

23a    Platform with trains to London offers favourable aspect? (6)
{UPSIDE} If you were travelling by train from London you would take the DOWN line, so if you were making the reverse journey. You’d get off on the DOWN SIDE of the station. If you were making the trip the other way you’d get on at the ….

27a    Former England opener journalist ostracised (9)
{BOYCOTTED} This fooled me for a while and I was looking for a phrase starting EX and E, but then I remembered Sir Geoffrey, the former cricketer and added ED (journalist) to his surname to get the word needed that means ostracised.

28a    Satellite slowing down, carrying external weight (6)
{TRITON} You need the abbreviation for slowing down in music which is ritornando (the first three letters) and put it inside a word for a heavy weight. This leaves you with one of the satellites of Neptune.

29a    My trade: in explosive (9)
{DYNAMITER} One of the best clues of the day. A nice “&lit” clue. An anagram (indicated by “explosive”) of MY TRADE IN gives a person to whom the whole clue would apply. Clever!

30a    Worker on scaffolding being extremely careful, it’s said (6)
{RIGGER} Someone who works on scaffolding sounds like the quality of being extremely careful.

31a    Brains not entirely shown by real celeb looking silly (9)
{CEREBELLA} An anagram (looking silly) of REAL CELEB leads you to parts of brains.


2d        Poisonous gas coming from a resin when crushed (6)
{ARSINE}  An anagram (indicated by “when crushed”) of A RESIN  leads to the name for hydride of arsenic, an extremely toxic gas.  A nice idea generated by the clue for a nasty word!

3d        End up more than once in a hut down under (3-3)
{MIA-MIA}  The word for an end or a target reversed and doubled gives you an Aboriginal abode.

4d        Harangue not initially helping (6)
{RATION}  A verbal diatribe without its first letter (Think Julius Caesar and Cicero) leads you to a helping or portion of something.

5d        Regains consciousness from coma, not half sad (5,2)
{COMES TO}  Another  musical reference, this time to play sadly (MESTO) and this comes after half of the word COMA.  This gives you a phrase meaning to regain consciousness, something I can attest to from recent personal experience!

6d        Romantic poet and old king on mountain top? (9)
{COLERIDGE}  Sometimes, you can’t see the wood for the trees!  I couldn’t work this out until a prod from Mine Host led me to a Nursery Rhyme monarch, plus a word for the top of a mountain or hill, to get the author of the Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

7d        Account of previous events supports politician (4,5)
{BACK STORY}  An account of a former event can be split in another way (5,4) to describe someone who supports David Cameron for example.

8d        Certain to have finished under a legal obligation (5,4)
{BOUND OVER}  Another word meaning certain or obliged when added to one meaning finished or done, leads to a criminal punishment where you are obliged to behave properly or face further punishment.

14d      People appearing vain and extreme, heartless VIPs going about (9)
{STRUTTERS}   VIP’s are known as this.  Remove the centre letter (heartless) and place the remainder around a word meaning extreme or total.  This gives a word that applies to people who are vain or the way such creatures as peacocks walk.

15d      Queen — one gets rid of traitors (9)
{QUISLINGS}  QU (Queen) + I + SLINGS (gets rid of) gives a name applied to traitors that originated from a Norwegian traitor who operated during the Second World War.

16d      What about India (somewhere hot) or a city in Europe? (9)
{EINDHOVEN} A short word meaning “What?” (as in “Pardon?”) goes around IND (for India) and add to this somewhere hot to do baking and you get a place in Holland.

17d      Operator, ‘boy’ offering a dodgy bargain? (3)
{DEL}  A double definition with the easier part being the wheeler dealer from a certain TV show which I confess I have only ever seen once and didn’t enjoy.  The other definition leads to an entry in Chambers that is another word for “nabla” which is a vector operator.  Yes, I haven’t the foggiest what it is, either.

18d      Witch maybe making the fellow cross (3)
{HEX}  A much easier clue than the last one.  A word for fellow (HE) plus X gives a word for a witch.

22d      A shelter housing learner with yen to be faithful disciple (7)
{ACOLYTE}  L + Y (Learner with Yen) goes inside a word for a shelter, particularly one housing doves.  This gives a word meaning a disciple or follower.

24d      Waste on fire ultimately in grate (6)
{SCRAPE}  A word meaning waste, particularly applied to paper or metal, and add to it the last letter of firE (indicated by “ultimately”).  This gives a word meaning to grate.

25d      Single’s No.1? Rubbish band! (6)
{STRIPE} S (The first letter of Single), plus a word meaning “rubbish” gives a word meaning a band of colour.

26d      Cancel article in disgust (6)
{REPEAL}   A word meaning disgust or to push away has “a” inside, which gives a word meaning to cancel a law.

Thanks to Giovanni for a lovely enjoyable puzzle and I’ll see you soon.


  1. nanaglugglug
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 8:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thought this was really excellent – favourite clues for Hotlips were 9 and 27a.

  2. gnomethang
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

    82% and struggling.
    Came to this a bit late !!

  3. Prolixic
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 8:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

    An enjoyable crossword from Giovanni. Many thanks to him and for the notes. Favourite clues were 29a and 9a.

  4. BigBoab
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Enjoyable crossword from Giovanni, enjoyed 29a but not too keen on 28a.

  5. gnomethang
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 9:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Does anybody else have an issue with 30a?
    Being extremely careful doesn’t mean rigour, it means rigourous.
    Extreme care is rigour, Shirley?
    Is it just me (because I missed it?)
    Will agree on 29a and enjoyed 1a since I haven’t heard of the cake but was satisfied when I had worked put the wordplay and checked in Chambers.
    Thanks to Tilsit and Giovanni.

    • gazza
      Posted April 29, 2010 at 9:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I initially thought the same thing on 30a, but I think you can say that rigour is “being extremely careful”.

      • Posted April 29, 2010 at 9:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

        I was wavering, gazza, but the issue I have is that it is a homophone which ought, in my ‘umble opinion, be pretty straight.
        Chambers gives Rigour as a noun, the usage here is #6 Strict Exactitude or #8 Extreme Strictness.
        The phrase ‘being extremely careful’ or even ‘extremely careful’ cannot be a noun, so I can’t see how the homophone can be set up.

        p.s. I am aware of the irony of debating ‘Rigour’ with gazza on a Giovanni clue ;-)

        • gazza
          Posted April 29, 2010 at 10:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

          I’m a bit dubious about this as well, but I think that a gerund can act as a noun (e.g. “dieting is bad for you”) so I think that “being extremely careful” can equate to rigour (but I still think it would have been better for the clue to have “taking extreme care”).

          • Posted April 29, 2010 at 10:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

            Hah! – I was just considering why I was wavering and was thinking about gerunds as well. I agree that the clue could have been more concise.

          • Posted April 29, 2010 at 10:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

            All I can say about 30a is that the answer is a noun, but the clue doesn’t personally lead me to a noun – more an adverb – tell me I’m not reading this stuff correctly……

  6. gazza
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 10:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Doesn’t 17d come from DEAL (bargain) with the A dodging out?

    • Posted April 29, 2010 at 10:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I think I prefer Tilsit’s (not that I like the clue much). If the second definition were to be (DEAL – A) then what is ‘boy’ doing? (unless it is a triple definition, of course!)

    • Posted April 29, 2010 at 10:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Dreadful clue, I’ve nothing to offer – but had to be Del-Boy didn’t it?. This wasn’t part of my problem zone with this today.

  7. Posted April 29, 2010 at 10:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I had seriously bad zonal problems with this one – don’t know why, but stuff happens, and when I came looking for help on here today, I had to plod on alone. So I had to revert to some letter hints on CluedUp – I had finished three-quarters of this pretty quickly, then was left with the entire SW quarter in isolation. 3 long down clues, and 4 shorter across. Got there in the end, just that it ended up a mini-crossword in isolation. After blowing most of my points on letter hints in the SW corner (who cares on here?) – I do appreciate that this was a clever piece of work from Giovanni – after 75% of being on-board I went off-piste…

  8. Posted April 29, 2010 at 10:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I had a problem with 30a, as part of that group of SW clues. Such a worker does not have to have anything particularly to do with scaffolding, but it may be the case. I used to work in that sort of line of engineering, so even worse in that corner – whatever Chambers might say.

    • Posted April 29, 2010 at 10:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Apologies to everyone for the late blog, a combination of hospital and personal stuff caused the delays.

  9. Posted April 29, 2010 at 10:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

    With regard to 30a, although I didn’t think much of it as a clue I found the following in ODE, and made a small adjustment to Tilsit’s post as a result:

    noun [mass noun] the quality of being extremely thorough and careful: his analysis is lacking in rigour.

  10. Posted April 30, 2010 at 1:43 am | Permalink | Reply

    Finally – loved 9a – brilliant clue with nice distraction of the Jam n Jerusalem variety. Excellent…

    • Sue
      Posted April 30, 2010 at 8:46 am | Permalink | Reply

      I too had trouble with WI ladies on coach tour with ducks but got there in the end. I thought the whole thing was very entertaining and challening to complete over a couple of hours dipping in and out while I was supposed to be working!

  11. soldier
    Posted April 30, 2010 at 9:10 am | Permalink | Reply

    I’m so pleased that I’m not quite as stupid as I felt yesterday. I’m only just starting to tackle the toughie, and having breezed through 3/4 of the puzzzle I became completely stuck on the SW corner. Good to know that some of the more experienced posters also found this area challenging.

  12. mark
    Posted April 30, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks Tilsit for the review. SW corner was all empty when I came to you! I did manage well on this one (being the clueless type myself usually!). Enjoyed 6d and 12a.

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