Toughie 396 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 396

Toughie No 396 by Shamus

A Surfeit of Scribbling

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

Not for the first time I find myself reviewing a Shamus puzzle two days in a row. As Toughies go this is not one of the hardest and I enjoyed solving it a lot though I found the right-hand side quite a bit easier than the left.
Let us know what you thought in a comment, and please remember to grade the puzzle by clicking on one of the stars at the bottom.

Across Clues

7a  Difficult situation facing continent French abandoned — and island (7)
{JAMAICA} – an informal term for a difficult situation or a tight spot is followed by the name of a continent without the letters FR (French abandoned) to make a Caribbean island.

8a  Ill-mannered unionist in group is facing hospital (7)
{LOUTISH} – the definition is ill-mannered. Put the abbreviation for Unionist inside a synonym for group and follow this with IS and the abbreviation for hospital.

10a  Philosopher mostly followed by society captured by neat artist (9)
{KANDINSKY} – start with the surname of a German philosopher of the eighteenth century (author of “Critique of Pure Reason”) and drop the final T (mostly). Follow this with an adjective meaning neat or dainty with S(ociety) inside (captured). If you’ve done this correctly you should have ended up with the surname of a Russian painter who was credited (if that’s the right word) with producing the first modern abstract works.

11a  Get to know a service introduced by the French (5)
{LEARN} – A and the abbreviation for one of the armed services come after a French definite article.

12a  Right I cut for extended rest (3-2)
{LIE-IN} – a legal right has I inserted (cut) to get a bit of extra time in bed.

13a  Type ruled irregular in common opinion (9)
{REPUTEDLY} – an anagram (irregular) of TYPE RULED.

15a  A man on board, we hear, making attack (7)
{ASSAULT} – the definition is attack and my first thought was that board would be a chessboard, but actually we’re on a ship. We want what sounds like (we hear) A and an informal word for an experienced sailor.

17a  Condemn source of smoke right away around old city (7)
{CENSURE} – the source of smoke is a ceremonial vessel, used in some Christian services, which contains hot coals and incense and which is swung around to produce a sickly smell and a lot of smoke (leading to many jokes along the lines of “Mummy, why is that man’s handbag on fire?”). Remove the final R (right away) from this and insert the old biblical city without which no crossword would be complete, to make a verb meaning to condemn.

18a  Son with arrogance seen in force is a rebel (9)
{DISSIDENT} – the definition is rebel. Put S(on) and an informal term for arrogance or pretentiousness inside a word for force, usually used in the phrase “by ____ of”.

20a  Set of beliefs enshrined in rabbi’s lamentation (5)
{ISLAM} – hidden (enshrined) in the clue is a religion or set of beliefs.

21a  Submissive followers missing sun in foreign country (5)
{YEMEN} – submissive followers are “yes men”.

23a  A Latin cafe endlessly excited and impassioned (9)
{FANATICAL} – an anagram (excited) of A LATIN CAF(e) (endlessly) produces an adjective meaning impassioned.

24a  New service in middle of week in a body (2,5)
{EN MASSE} – put N(ew) and a religious service inside the middle letters of wEEk to get a phrase, from French, meaning all together or in a body.

25a  Class of people, one performing in part (7)
{SECTION} – this is a charade of a class of people or faction, I (one) and an adverb meaning performing (in a play, say).

Down Clues

1d  A fellow with business essentially in scribbling? (10)
{AMANUENSIS} – an all-in-one clue leads to a literary assistant who takes dictation or copies manuscripts. Start with A and a synonym for fellow, then make an anagram (scribbling?) of the inside letters (essentially) of bUSINESs.

2d  Favourite showing skirt and leg (6)
{MINION} – a popular type of skirt is followed by the leg side in cricket to make a word, from French, meaning a favourite or darling, which has evolved to mean a very lowly underling. Well, it gives me an excuse…

3d  Language without appeal inhibiting two kings (8)
{SANSKRIT} – this is an ancient Indo-European language. Start with a word, from French, meaning without, then add a short slang word for sex appeal and between the two insert (inhibiting) two different abbreviations for king.

4d  Behave unco-operatively with drama over? (4,2)
{PLAY UP} – a phrasal verb meaning to be naughty is constructed from another term for drama and a short word meaning over or finished.

5d  What might be shot at home for news segment (8)
{BULLETIN} – a charade of what is shot from a gun and where you are if you’re at home. This could be a clever all-in-one since news organisations are using more and more “amateur” footage.

6d  Power associated with a document of approval (4)
{VISA} – a word, from Latin, meaning power or force is followed by (associated with) A.

7d  Gardener scribbled handy couple of notes for one of contrasting character? (6,3,4)
{JEKYLL AND HYDE} – my knowledge of gardeners being limited to Capability Brown, Percy Thrower and Charlie Dimmock, I had to resort to Google to find this lady (forename Gertrude). Follow her surname with an anagram (scribbled, again) of HANDY and finish with the second and third notes of the diatonic scale of C major (couple of notes) to get the two names of the man with the split personality (one of contrasting character) in the novella by R. L. Stevenson.

9d  Holy women need cultivated fruit (8,5)
{HONEYDEW MELON} – an anagram (cultivated) of HOLY WOMEN NEED.

14d  Unattractive feature in toast? (6,4)
{DOUBLE CHIN} – a dated toast (good health!), consisting of a single syllable repeated, is an anglicized pronunciation of a Chinese saying. We want a description of this toast, which could describe a facial feature which is superfluous and thus unattractive.

16d  Grant, perhaps, given by academic body is not disputed (8)
{UNIONIST} – Ulysses S. Grant, general in the American Civil War, is an example (perhaps) of this. Start with the abbreviation for an academic institution of higher learning and add an anagram (disputed) of IS NOT.

17d  Pleasing quality seen possibly in shares (8)
{CUTENESS} – put an anagram (possibly) of SEEN inside a synonym for shares or rake-offs.

19d  Engineer showing sign of doubt with fellow in general on reflection (6)
{EIFFEL} – in 16d we had a general on one side in the American Civil War. Now, to even matters up, we have a general from the other side. Reverse (on reflection) his surname and inside put a conjunction showing a lack of certainty (sign of doubt) and F(ellow) to get a French engineer.

20d  Undiminished interest before part of play (6)
{INTACT} – the definition is undiminished. Put an abbreviation for interest in front of a section (part) of a play.

22d  Master with musical company brought up play without words (4)
{MIME} – start with the abbreviation of master and add the name of a record company reversed (brought up, in a down clue) to get the sort of performance (play) that you can enjoy even if you’re hard of hearing.

The clues I enjoyed included 7a, 21a, 2d, 5d and 16d, but my clue of the day is 14d. Let us know what you thought in a comment.

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9 comments on “Toughie 396

  1. I found this fairly straightforward, although there were a few, especially in the NW area, that caused me problems.
    Without doubt, favourite clue 14d. Thanks to Shamus, and to gazza.

  2. I also looked up halfway through and found the right hand side complete but little on the left.
    Clue of the Day definitely 14d as well although I really liked 1d too.
    Many Thanks to gazza for the review and Shamus for the puzzle.

  3. I always love a Shamus toughie, plenty of fabulous clues and that feeling of satisfaction when its complete, coupled with a feeling of disappointment that the fun is over until next time. For me too, 14d is clue of the day amongst a great number of others including 9d 19d and 22d. Thanks to Shamus and Gazza.

  4. I also forgot to say how much I enjoyed a number of the cunning synonyms used in some of the wordplay – ‘DINKY’ had me laughing on the tube this morning!

  5. Very enjoyable (4*) though I can’t say that I found it any “Tougher” than today’s Cryptic (3*) Many thanks to G & S.

  6. Many thanks to Shamus for an enjoyable Toughie and to Gazza for the review. Lots of enjoyable clues and 14d is among them!

  7. Good straightforward toughie, favourite clues were 16d and 7d. Thanks Shamus and Gazza ( lovely picture for 2d )

  8. I didn’t know ‘minion’ meant ‘favourite’.
    Like most other posters, my favourite clue was 14d.

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