Toughie 381 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 381

Toughie No 381 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

For the second week running I get a pleasant, non-controversial puzzle. This pangrammatic puzzle is very good. There was nothing I needed to check in the dictionary and I could understand all the wordplay without difficulty. I’m beginning to look forward to my next “stinker” when I’ll be able to have a good moan.

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1a    Page by titled woman about joint trailed by foremost of sleuths — her? (1,1,5)
{P D JAMES} The answer is an authoress of crime novels made up from P (page) + J (joint) in a title of a lady of rank + S (first letter of sleuths)
[Yes, J = joint is in Chambers and allegedly refers to a joint of marijuana – I’ll have to take their word for it! BD]

5a    Friendly fellow appearing in a yarn (7)
{AFFABLE} Put F (fellow) inside a yarn (or story) to give a word meaning “friendly”

9a    A place of pilgrimage containing court and leisure facility (9)
{AQUADROME} The court is a four-sided open space enclosed by a building. The pilgrims are most likely to be Catholics. The leisure facility specialises in aquatic pursuits.

10a    Feature again found in dire curriculum (5)
{RECUR} The answer is hidden in “dire curriculum”

11a    One dumped by backward department getting praise (5)
{EXTOL} “One dumped” indicates a former partner. The department is in the southwest of France.

12a    Sound of cat gathering in the end bird (9)
{KITTIWAKE} A homophone of a word meaning cat (the animal) is followed by a gathering (one often held after a death) to give a type of gull

13a    Lout, I bet, upset close to austere place of incarceration (9)
{OUBLIETTE} An anagram (upset) of LOUT I BET + E (last letter of austere) gives a dungeon with no opening except in the roof (derived from the French for “to forget”)

16a    Fool detaining a name of stature (5)
{GIANT} A slang term for a fool surrounds A N (name) to give someone of abnormally great stature

17a    Frantic behaviour from notorious brothers cited (5)
{CRAZE} The answer is a homophone of some notorious East End twins.

18a    Earnestly sought religious area associated with revolutionary in plot (9)
{BESEECHED} The religious area is a bishop’s diocese, the revolutionary is our old friend Mr Guevara, and the plot is one found in a garden. The answer means “earnestly sought” and “SOUGHT” forms a part of the alternative (more usual) form of the word.

20a    Steps person recalled in a slope being renovated (4,5)
{PASO DOBLE} The answer is a ballroom dance based on a Latin American style of marching. It is made up of a reversal a word for a person inside an anagram (renovated) of A SLOPE

23a    Orwell, maybe, sadly interrupted by institute (5)
{ALIAS} George Orwell is a pen name (an assumed name). An expression of grief interrupted by I (institute) forms the wordplay

25a    Comb sides of tower with pointed instrument (5)
{TRAWL} TR (first and last letters of tower) is followed by a small pointed tool used for piercing holes

26a    Noted chemist varies oil for analysis (9)
{LAVOISIER} An anagram (for analysis) of VARIES OIL gives a Frenchman known as “the father of modern chemistry”

27a    Old actor is hard and boisterous (7)
{LADDISH} The actor (1913-1964) was an “unsmiling, pint-sized tough-guy American star who proved to be just the kind of star that the forties wanted” (Thanks to Mr Halliwell for that description). His surname is followed by IS H (hard) to give a word meaning boisterous or aggressive (like young men)

28a    A German standing in for one in criminal court employment? (7)
{YARDAGE} A G (German) replaces I in the name of a criminal, a drug-dealing Jamaican. The answer relates to an enclosed place near a building


1d    Doctor in lead beginning to offer harmless drug (7)
{PLACEBO} A word meaning to doctor (drinks) goes inside the atomic symbol for lead and is followed by O (the first letter of offer)

2d    Judge to get rid of part of tournament? (5)
{JOUST} J (judge) + get rid of (eject or expel) = a contest between knights

3d    What poet did creatively maybe when consuming English cake (9)
{MADELEINE} The cake is a small, plain sponge cake (Chambers) or a small, fancy sponge cake (Collins). Let the COD have the casting vote – it’s fancy. It is also the name of the rag doll in Bagpuss. Put E (English) inside what a poet might have done (poets write lines).

4d    Common pedigree (5)
{STOCK} 2 meanings. Common (e.g. ***** answer) and pedigree (e.g. of good *****)

5d    Twitching antlers around last of these stags in watchful state (9)
{ALERTNESS} An anagram (twitching) of ANTLERS round E S (last letters of these stags)

6d    Language from afar signified (5)
{FARSI} The answer is hidden in “afar signified”

7d    Composer, amateur engaged by mischievous songwriter (9)
{BACHARACH} The answer is the song-writing partner of Hal David. His name is made up of a classical composer + A in mischievous or cunning

8d    Make time to take in French art that’s serious (7)
{EARNEST} Here’s the French art again, i.e. the second person singular of the verb être. It is put inside make (money by working) + T (time)

14d    Money prohibited, we hear, for supplier of music? (5,4)
{BRASS BAND} A word for money (found where’s there muck) followed by a homophone of a word meaning “prohibited” gives a musical ensemble

15d    Hobby Celt devised for dramatic character (4,5)
{TOBY BELCH} An anagram of HOBBY CELT gives a character from Twelfth Night

16d    Island without area that is right for serving type (9)
{GRENADIER} Remove the A (area) from the end of a Caribbean island and add IE (that is) R (right) to give one who serves in the Army.

17d    A good temperature in California is outstanding (7)
{CAPITAL} A + a two-letter word meaning “good” + T (temperature) are all put inside CAL (California)

19d    Merit in Paris of introduction in court? (7)
{DESERVE} The French word for “of” is followed by what tennis players do to put the ball in play.

21d    Food store around hot place familiar to Indians (5)
{DELHI} This one’s becoming a bit of an old chestnut. Put a place that sells high quality cooked meats and cheeses, etc., round H (hot) to give an Indian city

22d    Green property entered by old diplomat (5)
{ENVOY} The answer is a word for diplomat. It is formed by putting O (old) inside what you might be green with

24d    Island with trade that’s popular among Asians essentially (5)
{IBIZA} A holiday destination in the Med is formed by putting a shortened form of business inside IA (the middle letters of Asians)

Very nice

10 comments on “Toughie 381

  1. A good-to-average Toughie – perhaps 3 1/2 * for both? 1a got me off to a good start and a chuckle, and I never really looked back. Last clue was 28a, which could only really be that from the checking letters, but I needed the Blog to understand why. Thanks Bufo, BD, Shamus and any one I’ve forgotten. Wimbledon tomorrow!

  2. This is the first time I have EVER found no comments! What’s wrong? Me, myself enjoyed this Toughie and finished it before looking at the hints. Didn’t understand them all, don’t see 28a for example and had to make a guess at 26a never having heard of him. 12a my favourite

    1. The post was a bit late today (mea culpa!)

      Did you never watch Alan Ladd’s daughter-in-law Cheryl in Charlie’s Angels?

  3. Re 1a:

    Then I learned to play some lead guitar, I was underage in this funky bar
    And I stepped outside to smoke myself a j
    When I come back to the room, everybody just seemed to move
    And I turned my amp up loud and I began to play

    It was late in the evening, and I blew that room away

    Paul Simon

    Now try sleeping without that tune ringing in your head!

  4. I enjoyed this puzzle immensely.
    Lots of French words to get me going.
    I have become so paranoid I even spotted the word AUDE, the department that is home at the moment in Carcassonne from 9 across. I had the down letters in and saw it.
    Thanks Shamus for a real treat, mon ami !

  5. I shall just quote from an email I sent first thing this morning “it’s a complete joy, lovely clues, it’s a pangram, and even some “foreign” words to draw in comment. I have tried to find a nina without success but
    apart from that its puzzle of the week for me.” Thank you very much Shamus.

  6. Many thanks to Bufo for his blog and the kind comments which are much appreciated.

  7. I echo the comments above. A very enjoyable puzzle from Shamus and highly satisfying when the last answers fell into place.

  8. I don’t usually do the Toughie, but encouraged by the comments, am having a shot at it. I hope to do as much as possible before looking at the hints!

    A welcome break from the 1962 DT puzzle I am doing (from 80 years of Cryptic Crosswords by Val Gilbert) which is very difficult!

    Thanks to Shamus & the reviewer.

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