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Toughie 401

Toughie No 401 by MynoT

Water, water everywhere!

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Having done the other three groups of signs in previous puzzles, most of us were expecting that MynoT would be concentrating on the water signs today, and we were not disappointed. Themed puzzles tend to be a bit easier if you latch on to the theme.

Many thanks to Crypticsue who has helped me out on a busy day by providing the hints for the down clues as Bufo is doing tomorrow’s Toughie.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.

Acrosses (from Big Dave)

1a    Cod-liver oil for example, could make posh aunts upset and thought of as thick (11,3)
{UNSATURATED FAT} – a vegetable or fish oil (usually a liquid like olive oil or cod-liver oil) is built up from the single letter for posh, an anagram (upset) of AUNTS, a words meaning thought of as thick

9a    Notes with sudden emphasis for Zambia and Italy (8)
{FORZANDI} – a musical term for notes with sudden emphasis (often spelt with an initial S) is a charade of FOR Z(ambia) AND I(taly) – it is in The Mine, but only in the singular – I thought about changing that, but so many of the musical terms have a singular ending O and a plural ending I

10a    Resort of civic hymn (5)
{VICHY} – this spa town in south central France was the site of a puppet government during WWII – it’s hidden in the last two words of the clue – ok, hands up those who tried to find a hymn that was an anagram of CIVIC

12a    Wordgame is regularly played (1-3)
{I-SPY} – a wordgame, often played by children during a long journey, comes from IS and every third letter (regularly) of PlaYed – I always knew that regularly might be used like this, but have never seen it before

13a    Tarts jumping the gun (5,5)
{FALSE START} – one of those complex anagrams – the first word of the answer is the indicator and jumping the gun is the definition

15a    Fruit from very old accountant surrounded by troubles (8)
{AVOCADOS} – fruit here is a plural definition – put V(ery) O(ld) and a C(hartered) A(ccountant) inside troubles

16a    Evil influence in American ceramics (6)
{CANCER} – the evil influence, the first of today’s water signs, is hidden in the last two words of the clue

18a    Spices ground for fish (6)
{PISCES} – an anagram (ground) of SPICES gives our second water sign

20a    One must be dragged to do this (5-3)
{WATER-SKI} – a cryptic definition of a sport

23a    A number out of their minds (10)
{IRRATIONAL} – a number that is not expressible as a ratio of two integers, and having an infinite and non-recurring expansion when expressed as a decimal, also means not logical or reasonable (out of their minds)

24a    So in health usually (4)
{WELL} – a multiple definition – and not the “obvious” hidden word!

26a    First note to steal, almost (5)
{TONIC} – the first note in a scale is derived from TO and most of a word meaning to steal

27a    Makes deep-rooted popular seeds (8)
{INGRAINS) – a word meaning makes deep-rooted is a charade of popular and seeds

28a    Where to have a good row (6-2-6)
{HENLEY-ON-THAMES} – the town that is famous for rowing

Downs (from Crypticsue)

2d     Stars insect that’s lost its sting (7)
{SCORPIO} – Take one nasty stinging insect, remove its tail (where its sting resides) and you get one of the water signs of the Zodiac.

3d    Note: double zero for unreasonable confusion (4)
{TIZZ} – A state of nervous confusion or excitement is made up of a musical note and double Z for zero. Nice attempt at confusion here by the setter as there is a temptation to find a word with two OOs!

4d     Morning after split old boy hired crowd (4-1-3)
{RENT-A-MOB} – A term for a hired crowd is a charade of a synonym for split, followed by the abbreviations for Ante Meridian Meridiem and Old Boy.

5d    Lack of today’s them will lead to this (6)
{THIRST} – Cryptic Sue’s clue of the day. If you are lacking the liquid that is today’s theme, you will suffer from this!

6d    Theologian grabbed Virginia in land laid waste (10)

{DEVASTATED} – More abbreviations, Doctor of Divinity, has inside it (grabbed) another word for a large area of land, eg that round a stately home, and inside that the abbreviation for the state of Virginia, the whole being the adjective for an area or country extensively damaged.

7d    Old bill about broken chair (7)
{ARCHAIC} – An adjective meaning ancient is made up by making an anagram of CHAIR and putting the short abbreviation for bill or account around (about) the result.

8d    Flighty florist eyed breeding place (6-5)
{OYSTER FIELD} – Difficult to solve if you fell into the misleading, not-a-hidden-word after all trap in 24a. However, it’s a matter of an anagram (flighty) of FLORIST EYED giving you a place where those molluscs you eat when there is an R in the month are bred.

11d    Topspin aids playing and is frustrating (11)
{DISAPPOINTING} – A fairly simple anagram (playing) of TOPSPIN AIDS gives you another way of saying frustrating your hopes or emotions.

14d    Mother’s joke I state to be sublime (10)
{MAJESTICAL} – A charade of MA (mother) JEST (joke), I and the abbreviation for California gives you another way of saying in a grand manner.

17d    Police using this ran in erring guard? On the contrary. (5,3)
{RADAR GUN} – The wordplay leads to putting RAN inside an anagram (erring) of GUARD, but “on the contrary means” to do the opposite and put the anagram inside RAN – this gives you something the police use to catch speeding motorists

19d    Instrument used by unknown band in Home Counties (7)
{SYRINGE} – Not a musical instrument but a medical one. The algebraic unknown Y and the sort of band used at a wedding are placed inside (in) yet another abbreviation, this time for the South East.

21d    In base broken urn has bone (7)
{STERNUM} – The base here is, according to Chambers, the base root of a word, or the front part of a ship. Put inside this (in base) an anagram of URN and you get the name of the broad vertical chest bone.

22d    In Cyprus forget about courtesy (6)
{COMITY} – Take the IVR letters for Cyprus, put them around a four letter word meaning to leave out and you get a less common word meaning courtesy or civility.

25d    Exposure of graduate on Thursday (4)
{BATH} – The final abbreviations for today, Bachelor of Arts on the very short abbreviation for Thursday gives another word for an exposure –Chambers “the act of exposing the body to vapour, mud, sunlight, etc.

Just what does MynoT have in store for next time? We await with interest.

30 comments on “Toughie 401

  1. All right, I’ll admit it, I was that person who tried to make a hymn out of civic! Lovely themed puzzle today thanks Mynot. Thanks to BD for the across hints and for correcting my confusion with 17d and 25d.

  2. Dave,
    I read 1a as
    Posh, anagram (upset) of AUNTS, then a synonym for thought of, followed finally by a three letter word for as thick. I think this is what you intended but the hint doesn’t make it clear.

  3. Hugely enjoyable puzzle from MynoT today. I finally remembered to remember the theme which helped and he has certainly packed the puzzle out with thematic words. Many great clues, really liked 4d, 23a and the wily 24a.
    Thanks to BD, Crypticsue for the review and MynoT for the puzzle

  4. Very enjoyable indeed. Like most I had done the obvious with 24a and 3d but once sorted it all fell into place nicely. I think 2** for difficulty was a bit mean but 4* for enjoyment just right. Thanks to BD and Crypticsue for the joint review and to MynoT for a great puzzle.

    1. I think there are two difficulty levels – one for those that fell for 24a and one for those, like me, that didn’t. Mind you, I had done 8d before I looked at 24a.

  5. Thank you

    An most enjoyable puzzle fairly easily solved.

    I was totally misled for a while by the feindish clue 24a where I wrote in the obvious answer at first.
    Another misleading clue was 23a where I was looking for an anagram to give me an anaesthetic.

    Last one to get was 25d where I felt neither of my options matched the definition, but spotting the theme let me conclude which one was required. (I hadn’t done MynoT’s previous ones so wasn’t expecting it)

    Favourite clue was 13a

    1. If you click on gen2’s name above, he has some excellent photos on his multiply site. I’m sure he will correct me if I am wrong, but I believe he lives in BigBoab territory north of Edinburgh.

      Also a gentoo is a species of penguin with a white stripe across its head, which is reflected in his avatar!

  6. Sorry to be picky, but considering the very high standards maintained on this blog in all matters – 4d Ante Meridiem.
    Very, very good Toughie today and yes, the clever trap of 24a got me all too easily as well. Added another 10 mins to the solve.

      1. In my defence, I was doing this in a hurry while eating a ham salad sarnie at the same time. Checking I had got the right word would be have meant delaying my banana!!

  7. Don’t very often even attempt the Toughie but thought that I would have a go today – didn’t quite manage to finish it because of some false assumptions – rather dimly I thought that the theme was signs of the zodiac – that meant that getting the answer to 5d was a bit tricky, particularly since 1a was one of the others that I couldn’t do so didn’t even have the first letter. Oh well, never mind! Couldn’t do 3d (looking for a word with oo) and have never heard of 9a. Loved 4d and favourite clue of all was 13a. Thanks to MynoT, Big Dave and Crypticsue – maybe I’ll try the toughies a bit more often now ….

  8. 24a was a doozy, just think, that could have been the clue for some competition somewhere where the prize was £100.000 and you go and give the wrong answer. I would have topped myself.
    Great Toughie, Thanks Dave and Sue

  9. I thought that this one was the easiest (and also the most enjoyable) of MynoT’s “signs” series. I wonder how long it’ll take us to spot what his next series is all about.

    1. Don’t really understand about MynoT’s ‘signs’ series. Very rarely attempt the toughie a)not smart enough and b) not enough spare time to allow myself to become addicted to yet another puzzle (already do the DT cryptic and sudokus before I even think about what I SHOULD be doing!) Is MynoT always on a Tuesday and does he (?she or do we know that he’s a he?) always have a theme?

      1. Kath,
        The signs of the Zodiac are divided into four “groups” (Air, Earth, Fire, Water) and MynoT (who is a man, his pseudonym is Tony M backwards) has produced a puzzle on each of the themes. Prior to that he did a series of puzzles, each of which only contained a single vowel.
        His puzzles don’t appear on any specific day of the week.

      2. Kath,

        The ‘Signs of the Zodiac’ are (for believers) divided into 4 groups called Earth, Air, Fire, Water (based on the four ‘Elements’ of the ancients).
        Earth signs are: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
        Air signs are: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius (but why isn’t Aquarius a ‘Water sign?)
        Fire signs are: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
        Water signs are Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces

        As far as MynoT’s gender is concerned, I assume he has reversed his real name of Tony M. (hence the capital T at the end).

        I too only attempt the ‘Toughie’ when I have a surplus of spare time – it usually submits to s steady onslaught.

      3. Thanks for that. I know that the twelve signs of the zodiac are divided into the four elements but failed to make the connection of ‘water’ today – just made the connection of ‘signs of the zodiac’ – WRONG – and only made a connection of any kind because of comments about a theme. So, on an unspecified day of the week MynoT compiles a toughie and then we look for a new theme as he has now completed that one? We know when it’s him as, unlike the daily cryptics, the compiler of the toughie always owns up!

  10. poor old dumbnut never realised there was a theme! Good puzzle partially completed and finished courtesy of Cryptecsue, thanks and to MynoT for setting it. By Jove, I think I’m getting better!

  11. Brendam, you’re not alone! I was beginning to think there might be a musical theme.

    Fell into the 24a trap. Favorite clue – 13a. Not entirely convinced with 25d. Otherwise comments as most above.

  12. I enjoyed the other watery answers more than the signs – 10 (Vichy water is a mineral water), 20, 24, 26, 28, 5, 8, 19, 25. For the last of these, the theme helped as I didn’t think of the required meaning of ‘bath’. Not so keen on the double unches starting and ending 1 and 28, but better in a 14-letter word than in a 6-letter one, as they are in one of the DT’s daily puzzle grids. Didn’t know z=zero, but as it’s also in Collins, Ican’t grumble about it being one of those weird abbrev’s only found in Chambers.

    Oh, and what kind of sign is Aquarius?

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