Toughie 372 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 372

Toughie No 372 by Citrus

This One’s a Lemon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment *

I really didn’t enjoy this one. It’s not up to Toughie standard and many of the clues felt as though they’d been generated by computer (not helped by having no less than eight 4-letter answers). Furthermore there are significant errors in two of the clues (9a and 29a).

Let us know whether you agree or disagree with me by leaving a comment, and please remember to indicate your enjoyment (or lack of it) by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

1a  Young royal broke pincer taking fish (10)
{PRINCELING} – this word is normally used as a derogatory term for the ruler (young or otherwise) of a minor principality, but apparently it can also be used to mean a young royal. It’s an anagram (broke) of PINCER followed by (taking) a fish of the cod family.

6a  Little one almost gets a cake (4)
{BABA} – remove the final Y (almost) from an infant (little one) and add A to get a cake soaked in rum-flavoured syrup.

9a  Change relates to gallery dealing with property (4,6)
{REAL ESTATE} – either there’s a very obscure gallery with initials A.T.E. or there’s a big error in this one, because an anagram (change) of RELATES plus Tate (gallery) requires 11 characters and the answer only has 10.
[9a Change relates to letter about property (4,6) – revised version that adds ETA (letter) reversed (about) to the anagram]

10a  Innkeeper’s spirit’s not good (4)
{HOST} – remove the initial G (not good) from a spirit.

12a  Offer includes new contract for apprentice (4)
{BIND} – a verb meaning to contract someone as an apprentice is made by including N(ew) in an offer.

13a  He defends a game point (9)
{APOLOGIST} – someone who makes a case for something controversial is a charade of A, a horsey sport (game) and the point or substance of a speech.

15a  I provided weapons like Nelson (3-5)
{ONE-ARMED} – the definition is like Nelson. It’s a charade of ONE (I) and a verb meaning provided weapons.

16a  Goddess active at another time on the top of Etna (6)
{ATHENE} – the Greek goddess of wisdom is made from A(ctive), an adverb meaning at another time and the first letter (top) of E(tna).

18a  Pig eats the whole tree (6)
{SALLOW} – the name for a willow tree is produced by putting everything (the whole) inside a female pig.

20a  6, for instance, contains meat for US party (4,4)
{CLAM BAKE} – put a type of meat inside what 6a is (the word is actually given to you in the 6a clue) to get a type of picnic party in New England.

23a  Always happy by middle of fen or marsh (9)
{EVERGLADE} – a charade produces a marsh, the most well-know of which is in Florida.

24a  Extraordinary rule applied to small continental plot (4)
{RARE} – put together R(ule) and a metric unit of measurement, equal to 100 square metres or one-hundredth of a hectare. I’m not sure of the significance of continental – haven’t we all gone metric now?

26a  Scheme to include lake in saltworks (4)
{PLAN} – put L(ake) inside what Chambers confirms is another word for saltworks.

27a  Conspiracy involving island with healthy cetacean (5,5)
{PILOT WHALE} – put I(sland) inside a synonym for conspiracy and add W(ith) and another word for healthy and you have a type of cetacean.

28a  Flow’s restricted, we hear (4)
{TIDE} – this flow sounds like (we hear) restricted, like some tenancies or public houses.

29a  Bar elects rogue and has a party (10)
{CELEBRATES} – an anagram (rogue) of BAR ELECTS nearly gives the answer (has a party) but there’s a crucial E missing. Someone hasn’t been counting the characters in their anagrams!
[29a Bar elects rogue taking Ecstasy and has a party (10) – revised version that adds the E missing from the original]

Down Clues

1d  Forward a bit of text (4)
{PERT} – an adjective meaning forward or saucy is made from PER (a, as in 50p a kilo) followed by the first letter (bit) of Text.

2d  Fancy one cheeky gamine (7)
{IMAGINE} – put I (one) in front of an anagram (cheeky?) of GAMINE.

3d  Cold grog redhead brewed for tourist spot (7,5)
{CHEDDAR GORGE} – this tourist spot in Somerset is an anagram (brewed) of C(old) GROG REDHEAD.

4d  Transfers allow artist to get established (8)
{LETRASET} – a three-part charade produces a proprietary name for a method of composing text by transferring letters from supplied sheets. Is this still going?

5d  Not one against concept (6)
{NOTION} – another three-part charade produces a concept.

7d  A solid figure holding Italian flower (7)
{ACONITE} – a poisonous plant (flower), of which there are many species including wolf’s-bane and monk’s-hood, is made by putting IT (Italian vermouth) inside A and a solid figure which tapers from a circular base to a point.

8d  Oppositions against changing sheets (10)
{ANTITHESES} – I’ve never come across people campaigning to keep dirty sheets, but that may be because I’ve led a sheltered life! Start with a prefix meaning against and follow this with an anagram (changing) of SHEETS.

11d  Trousseau’s kept here behind artist? (6,6)
{BOTTOM DRAWER} – Again the surface reading doesn’t make a great deal of sense. Where an unmarried girl traditionally kept her trousseau is a charade of a word for backside or behind followed by a type of artist.

14d  Bolts shot catching bleary toper in trap (7,3)
{LOBSTER POT} – an anagram (shot) of BOLTS is followed by (catching) another anagram (bleary?) of TOPER to get a basket for catching crustaceans.

17d  Puritanical American did what anyone with a cold might, reportedly (8)
{BLUENOSE} – this one just doesn’t work. Anyone with a cold might “blow nose”, but to get a sound-alike (reportedly) of the term used in the US for a straitlaced person it would have to be “blew” rather than “blow”.

19d  Shelter attraction put up for group of islands (7)
{LEEWARD} – string together a word for shelter and an attraction which has to be reversed (put up, in a down clue) to get the name of a group of islands in the Caribbean.

21d  Side by side with an animal crossing river (7)
{ABREAST} – the definition is side by side. Put A and another generic term for animal around (crossing) R(iver).

22d  Stick around inside like a dog (6)
{CANINE} – put the sort of stick that used to be wielded by schoolmasters around IN (inside).

25d  Dish served up for moderates? (4)
{WETS} – reverse (served up, in a down clue) a dish of meat and vegetables to get people lacking forcefulness or (as used by Mrs Thatcher) Conservatives with liberal tendencies.

If I had to pick favourite clues I’d say 13a and 27a. Let us know your views in a comment.

9 Change relates to letter about property (4,6)

13 comments on “Toughie 372

    1. Dave,
      I’m still not convinced. It depends on what the assumed word(s) after “might” is/are. If you read it as “did what anyone with a cold might do” I still think that “blow nose” fits better, i.e. “what he did was blow his nose”.
      Anyway, how many angels do you think can balance on the point of a pin?

  1. I liked the retro nod in 4d! – I have no idea if they are still going.
    I did race through this today, blithely ignoring all errors even when asked to spot them by gazza!!. Favourites were probably 27a , 20a and 14d.
    Thanks to gazza and to Citrus

  2. A Toughie in name only.

    “Young royal broke pincer” has to be the easiest anagram ever. OK, that’s not the complete clue, but sticking crossword-land’s commonest fish on the end to make a slightly unusual word doesn’t turn it into a Toughie.

    Zero stars for difficulty; one for enjoyment (11d and 17d mildly amusing). Maybe the errors in 9 and 29 were some sort of obscure nina?

  3. Apart from a couple of struggles/groans (4d and 20a), this seems more of a backpager than a toughie to me.

  4. If difficulty = time to complete, then this “Toughie” was half as challenging as today’s regular cryptic puzzle. And less enjoyable, and with some “schoolboy” errors. Need any more be said?

  5. Least said soonest mended! I see that the version on clued-up has corrected the errors in the two errant clues.

  6. Solved the cluedup version with corrections. Apart from a few obscure defintions that needed confirming in Chambers, nothing tough here. Not keen on LEEWARD as defined – can’t imagine it being used without ‘ISLANDS’. There was another of these in the Saturday puzzle which I tried on the same evening. If the puzzle editor is reading this, it’s the kind of minor naffness that gives some people an excuse to sneer (often unfairly) about the Telegraph crossword.

Comments are closed.