Toughie 388

Toughie No 388 by Monsieur Busman

Let’s Parler Franglais

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Zut alors! Bearing in mind the date Busman has donned a beret and lit up a Gauloises to give a Gallic motif to today’s puzzle. I suspect that solvers will either love it or hate it. I found it enjoyable as a one-off (though the theme does impose restrictions), so full marks and merci beaucoup to Monsieur Busman for trying something different.
A large number of the clues refer to 18, which is 18d. If I tried to write all the hints for these clues without disclosing what 18d is it would be laborious to write and tedious to read, and since I can’t believe that anyone has got this far without knowing the theme, I’m going to use  “French” in the hints rather than constantly referring to “the language of the person defined in 18d”.
Were you enchanted or irritated by it? Let us know in a comment!

Across Clues

7a  Releases some stains according to 18 (8)
{DETACHES} – string together French words for some and stains or spots to get an English verb meaning releases or disengages.

9a  Chocolate drop is the craze in outskirts of Dieppe (6)
{DRAGÉE} – put a word meaning the craze or fashion (as used in the phrase “it’s all the ****”) inside the outer letters (outskirts) of DieppE to get a confectionery which can take several different forms, one of which is a chocolate drop.

10a  18’s member and supporters (4)
{BRAS} – the French word for arm (member) also means support garments.

11a  Mother travels, as we say, to port, as we say (10)
{MARSEILLES} – put together sound-alikes for an abbreviated term for mother and a verb meaning travels by sea to get a French port. The first “as we say” is just signalling the homophones, whereas the second means as we (the British) would say, indicating that the homophones lead to how we might pronounce (and spell) the name, not the way the French do.

12a  Courtesans on course (2,4)
{LE MANS} – the answer is a French town famous for hosting an annual 24-hour motor race. If you redefine it as a single 6-character word it means lovers or courtesans.

14a  Dancer, say, could be 1, without touch of red on tip of nose (8)
{REINDEER} – start with the letters from the answer to 1d, remove one R (without touch of R(ed)) and add on the first letter (tip) of N(ose). Now make an anagram (could be) of what you’ve got to form one of the animals that delight children at Christmas, one (say) of which is supposed to be called Dancer. The clue is cleverly constructed because the 1 (which is 1d in the wordplay) can just be read as “one” in the surface, which differentiates Dancer from Rudolph, though I’m not sure that “on” can be used to mean “add”.

15a  Audience’s reception of some Poulenc or Erik Satie (6)
{ENCORE} – hidden in the clue is a word that the audience might call out at the end of a concert (though they would be unlikely to do this in France where the word used is “bis”).

17a  Compensate with regard to 18’s sudden action (6)
{RECOUP} – a verb meaning to compensate or reimburse is a charade of RE (with regard to) and a French word for a sudden action, such as a thrust in fencing.

20a  18’s quickly taking in report about 18’s ‘small-town’ novel (8)
{VILLETTE} – put the French word for quickly round an English verb to report or relate which is reversed (about) to end up with the title of a novel by Charlotte Brontë which might be, but isn’t as far as I know (hence the quotes), a diminutive of the French word for a town.

22a  18 boy and bird wander in (6)
{PIERRE} – a common French male forename is made by putting a verb meaning to wander or stray inside a black and white bird.

23a  Cathedral racecourse rebuilt (5-5)
{SACRÉ-COEUR} – the name of a famous cathedral in Montmartre in Paris is an anagram (rebuilt) of RACECOURSE.

24a  Fearing that it’s the Orient for 18 (4)
{LEST} – this is a conjunction meaning fearing that or to avoid the risk that. It’s also, if you picture it as 1’3, the French term for the Orient.

25a  Spray by your 18 counter (6)
{JETTON} – a charade of a spray and the French familiar word for your produces a counter used in gambling games.

26a  Novelist’s letters from Shetland (8)
{STENDHAL} – the name of this French novelist is an anagram (letters from) of SHETLAND.

Down Clues

1d  18 behind rider having changed before (8)
{DERRIÈRE} – the French word for behind is made from an anagram (having changed) of RIDER followed by a poetic synonym of before.

2d  Blemishes for a month for 18 (4)
{MARS} – double definition, one being the French word for a month of the year (If you go through them starting at Janvier it won’t take you long to get there!).

3d  Winners in 18’s fields (6)
{CHAMPS} – another double definition.

4d  18 obsession with fish if lifted in river (4,4)
{IDÉE FIXE} – a French term for an obsession is made from a freshwater fish closely related to the chub followed by IF reversed (lifted, in a down clue) inside a Devon river.

5d  The bold eat out, thus (5,5)
{TABLE D’HÔTE} – a semi-all-in-one uses an anagram (out) of THE BOLD EAT to make a fixed-price restaurant meal (although it’s probably somewhat bolder to order à la carte).

6d  Respect one missed from 18’s dreamy state (6)
{REVERE} – remove the I (one missed) from a French word for a dreamy state to leave a verb meaning to respect or idolise.

8d  Arrest drunk philosopher (6)
{SARTRE} – an anagram (drunk) of ARREST leads to a French philosopher.

13d  Get faster placing this article according to 18 in an old car (10)
{ACCELERATE} – put the French words for this and the masculine definite article inside an informal word for an old banger (car) to make a verb meaning to get faster.

16d  Reserved tier fashioned by 18 hundred (8)
{RETICENT} – an anagram (fashioned) of TIER is followed by the French for one hundred.

18d  This capital fellow’s flower is some rose in England (8)
{PARISIAN} – the key to the puzzle. Hidden (some) in the clue is the river (flower) of this person’s capital city.

19d  Partners always entering department capital (6)
{NEVERS} – bridge partners have a synonym for always inserted (entering) to get the capital of the department of Nièvre in central France.

21d  Neglected gem is a Debussy composition (6)
{IMAGES} – an anagram (neglected) of GEM IS A.

22d  Liquor for 18 to carry (6)
{PORTER} – double definition – a dark brown beer and the French verb to carry.

24d  Poilu doesn’t catch game (4)
{LUDO} – poilu is an informal word for a French infantryman in the first world war, but that’s largely irrelevant because the word is only present to provide some letters of the hidden (catch) board game.

The clues I liked included 14a, 26a and 13d, but my clue of the day is 20a. Let us know which ones you liked in a comment!

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33 Comments

  1. Posted July 14, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    J’enlève mon chapeau à Busman. Je n’ai pas trouvé ce jeu de mots croisé difficile mais il était très agréable.
    merci beaucoup à Busman et à gazza pour la revue.

  2. bigmacsub
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    merde

  3. Nubian
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    D’accord Gnomethang. C’est formidable et magnifique pour ce dat.
    Merci Busman et Gazza et Bon Fete!

  4. crypticsue
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Merci M Busman. Un magnifique plaisir. I knew French A-level would stand me in good stead one day! All lovely clues but I will pick 11a because it made me smile.

  5. Prolixic
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Have not the time or energy to type in those pesky accents. However, this was great fun to solve. The paper version of the puzzle gave the setter as “Monsieur Busman” so the theme was a dead giveaway even if you did not know the date. Favourite clue (appropriate for the date) 14a.

    Many thanks to Busman for the fun and to Gazza for the review.

    • Posted July 14, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      Am I missing something? What has 14a got to do with the date (or the theme)?

      • gazza
        Posted July 14, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

        The date today is the 14th.

        • Posted July 14, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

          OK, sorry. I thought that Prolixic meant that the answerto 14 was appropriate to the date

      • mary
        Posted July 14, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        Could it be that 14a is an anagam of 1d minus r – without touch of red, but with n – tip of nose ??? that’s how I figured it but then I am often wrong :)

        • mary
          Posted July 14, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

          oops sorry, please ignore that, that is obviously what you weren’t asking!!

  6. Posted July 14, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Ausgezeichnet heute. Vielen Dank…………….

    • gazza
      Posted July 14, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      The German National Day (der Tag der Deutschen Einheit to celebrate reunification) is on 3rd October which is on a Sunday this year, so perhaps we’ll get another special from Virgilius?

      • crypticsue
        Posted July 14, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

        Now then, don’t give them ideas, to have to resurrect my O level German might be a step too far!!

      • Jezza
        Posted July 14, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

        If it’s a German theme, I really am in trouble!

      • mary
        Posted July 14, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        Don’t think I could cope with that gnomey, although have done a German course but don’t think I ever used it, unlike French, as we visit there regularly to see my sister-in-law :)

  7. Posted July 14, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Living in France and the 14th July – what more could I want. Loved them all!

  8. Digby
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    I predicted a French theme in yesterday’s comments, but didn’t quite expect this broadside! Perhpas you could have entitled it “L’autobus numero dix-huit” Gazza?

  9. barbyjo
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Magnifique! What a super start to a very grey day! I too loved 11 across,just got back from there after dropping my nephew off at the French Foreign legion! Don’t ask!!!!!!

  10. mary
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Thought I’d have a go at this today and was pleasantly surprised, managed to do over 3/4 of it without resorting to blog for 7a, 25a, 5d,19d,21d French ‘O’ level served me well :)
    Thanks for hints Gazza
    Merci Monsieur Busman, c’etait tres agreeable :)

  11. RBC99
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas legere!!

    Rob

    • Posted July 14, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog RBC99

      • RBC99
        Posted July 14, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

        Have been “spying” for a while, but couldn’t resist a comment on the Bastille theme. 10a for its simplicity was my favourie.

  12. brendam
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    In spite of having a French daughter-in-law found this taxing, S-O-O many years since I used French [ she lives in N.Z. so no help there] Clever but I hate Xwords that depend on one key word although I got 18d fairly quickly. Liked 11a and 10a

  13. mary
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Sorry Gazza, although as I said above I have finished this and got 18d as it was fairly obvious but I don’t quite understand the word play in the clue, it has been bugging me all afternoon (sad)

    • gazza
      Posted July 14, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      Capital fellow is someone who lives in a capital. His flower (i.e. his river) is the Seine which is hidden (some) in the clue.

      • mary
        Posted July 14, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        Would you believe, yes you would, that I knew what it meant and just couldn’t see it, I can hardly believe it myself, thanks Gazza headache getting better already :)

  14. hoddros
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Can I offer a lone disapproving voice?
    I rarely do well on any of these Toughie crosswords and accept my role in the scheme of things.

    However, I am getting tired of these crosswords that all have a theme.

    If I get the theme, I feel that the rest was therefore easier and I lose the sense of achievement, if I don’t, then I seem to have no chance.

    I feel like an intruder at someone else’s party, but why can they not just stick to normal crosswords?

    • mary
      Posted July 14, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      I see what you say hoddros, but for myself I find a great sense of achievement in finishing a ‘toughie’ although as yourself I don’t really like themed puzzles

  15. Libellule
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Apologies to the dissenter, but I am with the approvong voices. Monsieur Autobus gets 5 stars from me. Really enjoyed it. Sorry for the late comment, just got back from visiting french friends (hic!).

  16. ceh58
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed this themed puzzle — fortunately the theme was relatively easy to get, not too obscure. I did have to use a French dictionary as my memories of high school French are too hazy!

  17. Jcal
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Finished this with the help of my clever wife who knew the answer to the chocolate clue (all that money spent at hotel chocolat has been worthwhile!) and a couple of others. I would say much more than a 2* for difficulty but very enjoyable.

  18. Peter Biddlecombe
    Posted July 17, 2010 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Just solved in a run through the week’s Toughies – the easiest of the four but also the most fun.

  19. FrogOne
    Posted July 29, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Hi to everyone!
    Just got round to starting the grid! So fun to have a French-inspired one on July 14th!!! I love the Brits for their great sense of humour and their wit!
    SorryIcouldn’t do it before ! (haven’t finished… but i’m likely to use your help! OK! I should be really ashamed of myself!