Toughie 360

Toughie No 360 by Giovanni

It’s Definitely Not Mr Bean

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

There were several words which were new to me in this puzzle, but it’s by Giovanni so all the wordplay is very fair and the surface readings are good. Let us know how you found it, and please don’t forget to vote by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

4a  Worried about being bitten by ‘ound, play it cool? (8)
{UNDERACT} – reverse (about) a verb meaning worried or showed concern and put it inside (bitten by) another verb meaning to hound or chase without its leading H. You should now have a third verb meaning to play a role in a play or film in a restrained way without hamming it up (play it cool).

8a  Gym set having a game (6)
{PELOTA} – string together the abbreviation for physical exercise (gym), another word for an outdoor (film) set and A to get a ball-game of Basque origin.

9a  Film sailor, inexperienced, going the wrong way aboard ship (4,4)
{STAR WARS} – we want the name of a film which has spawned a number of sequels and prequels. Put a common (at least in crosswords) name for a sailor and the reverse (going the  wrong way) of an adjective meaning inexperienced or untutored inside (aboard) the usual abbreviation for a ship.

10a  City succeeded in opposition to a move (8)
{SANTIAGO} – we want the capital city of Chile and to get it we have to put together the abbreviation for succeeded (e.g. one monarch succeeding another), a preposition meaning in opposition to, A and a move (in a boardgame, say).

11a  Number one in the class? (6)
{GENIUS} – an all-in-one-clue. Put I (one) inside a biological category (class) to get someone with an exceptional talent. Very few top classroom pupils could be described thus, hence the question mark.

12a  Mistake with imported cut of meat being rather salty (8)
{BRACKISH} – an informal, dated word for a mistake is BISH. Inside this (imported) put a joint of meat, normally lamb, to get an adjective meaning slightly salty, like the water in a river estuary.

13a  Trainee beginning to tussle with computer facility (8)
{INTERNET} – the computer facility which allows you to read this is made from the North American spelling of someone learning on the job, followed by the first letter (beginning) of T(ussle).

16a  Be prominent and big going about (5,3)
{STAND OUT} – a phrasal verb meaning to be prominent is constructed from AND with a synonym for big or plump around it (going about).

19a  Available pub — marine therefore enters it (2,6)
{IN SEASON} – a phrase applied to foodstuffs indicating that they are available at the current time of year is constructed by putting a synonym for marine (the adjective, not the noun) and SO (therefore) inside another word for pub.

21a  One old woman friend admitted to be a beast (6)
{IMPALA} – the required beast is an antelope (known to the cheetah as “lunch”). Start with I (one) and add an affectionate term for an old woman, then insert (admitted) a synonym for friend.

23a  General from Italy accompanying colonel in Indian city (8)
{AGRICOLA} – I initially thought that the definition was “General from Italy” but Italy is required for the wordplay and it turns out that this famous Roman general was born in what is now France anyway. So the clue can be thought of as starting “(The name of a) General (can be formed) from Italy ….”. Put I(taly) and the abbreviation for colonel inside an Indian city which is the site of the Taj Mahal.

24a  A violent mistral? One shouldn’t be afraid (8)
{ALARMIST} – it’s the first anagram of the day. Start with A and add an anagram (violent) of MISTRAL to get a doom-merchant who gets far more agitated than the situation warrants.

25a  Author’s position not good (6)
{RANKIN} – start with a position in a hierarchy or order of merit and drop the final G (not Good) to leave the surname of a Scottish crime writer and creator of Detective Inspector Rebus.

26a  One collects fag-ends when assistance is needed around street (3-5)
{ASH-STAND} – a receptacle for cigarette ash and fag-ends (not the most common term for this) is constructed from AS (when) and the type of assistance that you may lend someone around the abbreviation for street.

Down Clues

1d  Prostitute spoils the area (7)
{HETAERA} – an anagram (spoils) of THE AREA produces a sophisticated and accomplished “companion” in ancient Greece (similar to a geisha in modern Japan).

2d  Man in black should be redder, we hear? (9)
{MORTICIAN} – I couldn’t work Johnny Cash into the answer, so we want the North American name for someone in a very sombre profession, and it sounds like (we hear) “more titian” (redder).

3d  Is a boy brought up to make money in Africa? (6)
{DALASI} – reverse (brought up) IS A and a synonym for boy to get the name of the basic monetary unit of Gambia (equal to 100 butut, or is that too much information?).

4d  Homespun Ian, Scottish dupe led astray (15)
{UNSOPHISTICATED} – an anagram (led astray) of IAN SCOTTISH DUPE produces an adjective meaning simple and unpolished (homespun).

5d  Not green about anything — single-glazed windows being this? (8)
{DRAUGHTY} – a description of fruit which is not green is put around (about) an old word for anything at all, to make what single-glazed windows may be, especially if they don’t fit well.

6d  One restricted by narrow Anglicans? (5)
{ROWAN} – very clever and amusing all-in-one. Hidden (restricted) in the clue is the forename of the current Archbishop of Canterbury (and not the creator of Mr. Bean), who is indeed constrained by some of his more dyed-in-the-wool members in his attempts to modernise his church.

7d  Knees-up about to start (7)
{CAROUSE} – Chambers reveals that the answer is a noun, meaning a noisy revel or knees-up, as well as a verb. Put CA (circa, about) in front of a verb meaning to drive an animal or bird from its hiding place (to start).

14d  Name a saint in modern setting becoming popular again (9)
{RENASCENT} – put N(ame), A and the single-letter abbreviation for saint inside (in …. setting) a word meaning of the present-day (modern) to get an adjective meaning coming into renewed life.

15d  Openings beneficial to an Asian bird (8)
{FORAMINA} – a (new to me) word for small openings, especially in a bone, is a charade of a term meaning favourable towards or beneficial to, A and the alternative spelling of an Asiatic bird, some of which can be taught to imitate human speech.

17d  Army chaps providing exotic dishes (7)
{TAMALES} – put together the abbreviation for our part-time army and what chaps (as opposed to women) are to get highly seasoned Mexican dishes.

18d  ‘Layer’ carrying leaves initially, it being a bird (4,3)
{COAL TIT} – the sort of layer that you may apply with a paintbrush has the first letter (initially) of L(eaves) inside and is suffixed with IT to get a small Eurasian and North African songbird.

20d  Arrest troublesome philosopher (6)
{SARTRE} – an anagram (troublesome) of ARREST is the name of a French philosopher (and Monty Python favourite).

22d  Roman art enthralling artist in French town (5)
{ARRAS} – my initial thought was that Roman art would be “es” (as in thou art in latin) but it’s actually the latin word for art (as featured in countless MGM films, in the motto above the roaring lion). Put the abbreviation for Royal Academician (artist) inside (enthralling) to get a town in northern France which saw action in both World Wars.

The clues I liked included 4a, 11a, 21a and 14d, but my favourite today is 6d. Let us know your thoughts in a comment!


  1. BigBoab
    Posted May 26, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Superb crossword from Giovanni, great review from Gazza. I particularly liked 17d.

  2. digby
    Posted May 26, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for the help Gazza. 15d, 4a & 10a weren’t coming to me. And had INTRANET for 13a, which didn’t help my cause. A very well-composed puzzle, with plenty to think about, and some nice, humourous touches.

  3. Prolixic
    Posted May 26, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Good workout from Giovanni that was firm, fair and fun. Many thanks to him and to Gazza for the notes.

  4. Posted May 26, 2010 at 8:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I needed some help for the unknown words (the same as everyone else I think) and also needed gazza’s help for some of the wordplay. I don’t know why I struggle on Giovanni’s Toughies so much.
    Thanks to him and to gazza

  5. Anna Gram
    Posted May 26, 2010 at 11:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Like Digby I also had ‘intranet’ for 13a. I thought at first glance it was an anagram of trainee plus T, but of course it wasn’t.. Favourite clue – 2d ‘mortician’.

  6. Spindrift
    Posted May 27, 2010 at 9:23 am | Permalink | Reply

    Completed but only with the help of Gazza. I got 14d while in the shower this morning – I know most people sing or listen to the radio. Me? I try solving unfinished clues…I need to get out more probably.

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