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Toughie 387

Toughie No 387 by MynoT

Out of the frying pan, into the ….

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

ARVE Error: need id and provider

Having worked out that Mynot’s latest project is to work through the Classical Elements, and Earth and Air having already been covered, I was expecting either Fire or Water and it turned out to be the former.  I have highlighted the main clues with a thematic answer in green.  Although all three Fire signs of the Zodiac are all present, two of them appear in modern form.


1a    Infatuated with bustle and girdle (7)
{ADORING} – a charade of bustle or fuss with to girdle or encircle

5a    Appropriate objective for 8 (4,3)
{TAKE AIM} – combine synonyms for to appropriate and an objective give what 8d does

9a    Jazz fan starts to employ Reinhardt to provide entertainment (5)
{CATER} – this old-fashioned word for a jazz fan is combined with the initial letters of (starts to) Employ Reinhardt to give a word meaning to provide entertainment

ARVE Error: need id and provider

10a    Altar base could well be made of this (9)
{ALABASTER} – an anagram of ALTAR BASE gives a translucent form of gypsum that the altar base could well be made

11a    Bright ones mostly to be found here (with initial rejects!) (4,6)
{EAST SUSSEX} – the town that forms most of the first two words (after removing the initial letters of the answer / with initial rejects) is in this county

12a    Book of deeds (4)
{ACTS} – a double definition, the first of which refers to a book of the New Testament

14a    Having crushed my pomace fill fire in bowl (7,5)
{OLYMPIC FLAME} – an anagram (having crushed) of MY POMACE FILL gives a fire kept alight in a bowl every four years

18a    Black coat worn by most recent new champion smelt here (5,7)
{BLAST FURNACE} – B(lack) and a type of coat surround (worn by) a synonym for most recent and are followed by N(ew) and a champion to get somewhere a mixture of iron ore, coke, and limestone is smelted

21a    Celebrity left on one leg (4)
{LION} – a celebrity (and a Fire sign) that is a charade of L(eft) I (one) and the leg side in cricket – another outing for ON, that most annoying of link words

22a    Promiscuously erotic Li Po shielded people maintaining order (4,6)
{RIOT POLICE} – an anagram (promiscuously) of EROTIC LI PO gives people who use shields while maintaining order

25a    Spice Girl in sin bin regularly starts to seek escape (4,5)
{STAR ANISE} – an aniseed-flavoured spice is built up by putting a girl’s name inside the odd letters (regular, which can be used for odd or even letters) of SiN bIn and then adding the initial letters of (starts to – again!) Seek Escape – seems a bit contrived in order to get Spice Girl into the wordplay

26a    Ram airliners regularly (5)
{ARIES} – This Ram is also a Fire sign! – once again you need the odd (regular) letters but this time of AiRlInErS

27a    Property river’s swept away in time spent drinking (7)
{SESSION} – take a synonym for property or belongings and remove (swept away) an Italian river’s (not forgetting the ‘S) from the outside to get time spent drinking

28a    Legendary bird found in American state capital (7)
{PHOENIX} – having wasted time trying to fit ROC inside an American state, the penny dropped that this was a legendary bird that rose rejuvenated from its ashes and is the state capital of Arizona


1d    Bowman fiddling in orchestra not drunken sot (6)
{ARCHER} – the last of our Fire signs is an anagram (fiddling) of (O)RCHE(ST)RA without the rearranged (drunken) letters of SOT – nice to see a setter telling you to remove letters that are not in the same order as they are in the word, many don’t

2d    Old baronet to employ Angle (6)
{OBTUSE} – a charade of O(ld) with BT (baronet) and to employ gives an angle of between 90˚ and 180˚

3d    Weak bishop that is free without (10)
{IRRESOLUTE} – to get a synonym for weak take the Right Reverend (bishop) and put Id Est (that is) and a word meaning free outside (without)

4d    Good headgear found where 24 takes place (5)
{GHATS} – combine G(ood) with headgear (remembering that this word is a mass noun!) gives level places on the edge of a river where Hindus cremate their dead (24d takes place)

5d    Rage and it could become his profession (9)
{TRAGEDIAN} – an anagram (couldbecome) of RAGE AND IT gives this Shakespearian actor

6d    Chief of a thousand Chinese (4)
{KHAN} – a central Asian or Persian chief is constructed from the metric symbol for a thousand and a member of the native Chinese people, as opposed to the Mongols, Manchus, etc

7d    Dictator taking vehicle about desert (8)
{AUTOCRAT} – a dictator that is a charade of a car, an abbreviation for about and a word meaning to desert

8d    Evangelist’s soldiers: they 5 across (8)
{MARKSMEN} – split this as (4’1,3) and you get an Evangelist’s and soldiers – these people will 5a before firing

13d    No time for a romance at a party for amateur (10)
{AFICIONADO} – remove T(ime) from A and a synonym for romance, the add A party to get an amateur who is an ardent follower

15d    Islander finds gold in shaken Martini (9)
{MAURITIAN} – someone from an island nation off the coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean is found by inserting the chemical symbol for gold inside an anagram (shaken) of MARTINI

16d    Pillars of damaged silks to follow order (8)
{OBELISKS} – these pillars come from an anagram (damaged) of SILKS) after the Order of the British Empire

17d    In SW Pacific state Victor earns rupees for urns (8)
{SAMOVARS} – inside a country in the southwest Pacific put the letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by Victor and follow this with R(upee)S to get Russian metal urns

19d    Fix one on small cog (6)
{PINION} – combine to fix with I (one) and ON to get a small cog

20d    Old kingdom, new Earl (6)
{WESSEX} – a double definition, Prince Edward being the second one

23d    Actor on Thursday has sixth sense (5)
{THESP} – a shortened word for an actor (maybe a 5d) is derived from TH(ursday) and a sixth sense

24d    It’s a terrible way to go (4)
{SATI} – an anagram (terrible) of IT’S A gives a temple in India, devoted to the wife of Rama the former Hindu practice of a widow throwing herself on to her husband’s funeral pyre.

I wonder what the next Mynot puzzle will bring?

25 comments on “Toughie 387

  1. 24d isn’t as in the brackets, (ends with i), type of self immolation taking place at Ghats?

  2. I guessed the MynoT and found the flames!.
    Dave, Sati is also the act of an Indian woman self-immolating (by choice or otherwise) on her late Husband’s funeral pyre.
    I missed 11a and 4d – was trying to get graves and easy street in and couldn’t see past them.
    I thoroughly enjoyed this one so thanks to MynoT and BD for the notes.

  3. Re 24d, I thought the definition was the act of being burnt on a funeral pyre in India. Thanks to MynoT and to BD.

  4. Thanks to all for that – I should have looked at the puzzle instead of relying on my memory, but got sidetracked by the Goddess

  5. Didn’t care much for it. Not a fan of MynoT and this didn’t make me feel any better disposed towards his puzzles.

    Found today’s Times and especially today’s Indy much more enjoyable.

  6. Great fun from Mynot. Should not 4d 24d be in green as part of the fire theme though? Many thanks to MynoT for an enjoyable puzzle.

  7. Quite difficult, despite the theme. BD, I think the answer to 17d should be plural, and the wordplay still works (rupees). Thanks for the informed and informal debrief.

            1. Have a good day off and enjoy “la Durie!”. I’m halfway through and it’s quite fun!

              1. Me too… I haven’t got 18d yet, but it has not stopped me filling in half of it!

  8. Just back from helping at degree ceremony. Did the cryptic before being six inches from both David Suchet (great actorly presence) and Orlando Bloom (who just reminded me of my youngest son although all the younger ladies around me seemed to be swooning.) Came on line to see how difficult everyone else found the Toughie – I was obviously more overcome by Orlando than I thought and will try and see if cogitation has done the trick.

  9. I wonder if anyone would have figured out the theme if this had been the first in the “series”. I certainly would not have spotted it.

    1. We all missed the first one (Earth) and it was only spotted because of the Air theme and Bufo’s comment about “Once again MynoT includes three signs of the zodiac as answers” that made me rethink why those three signs.

    2. I agree Gazza, I would never have guessed if I hadn’t tried the others, that said I really enjoyed this and was pleasantly surprised to complete a MynoT without recourse to the blog. Thanks MynoT and BD for a grand morning (and a bit of afternoon )’s entertainment.

  10. It did just need a bit of cogitation although I did need BD’s explanation for 11a. Will start swotting obscure things to do with water ready for the next puzzle in the series.

    1. nanaglugglug,
      The answer (East Sussex) is a county in which is located Brighton (from BRIGHT ON(es) mostly) . The clue tells you to remove the initial letters of E(ast) S(ussex) from ON(es) to leave just Brighton.

  11. Just solved with the other toughies for the week. Quite easy overall, but a few clues bothered me (without knowing the setter). At 2D, obtuse is an adjective and angle is a noun. Using one to clue the other is nonsense. The anagrams at 14A, 22A and 5D were a bit “sore thumb”.

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