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Toughie 407

Toughie No 407 by Messinae

The Army Game!

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

A reasonably straightforward puzzle from Messinae today, with a few military and nautical references, but not enough for it to be a theme.

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1a    Rewrite revolutionary legislation (6)
{REDACT} – a word meaning to edit for publication (rewrite) is a charade of a general word for a revolutionary and a piece of legislation – I see this word used a lot these days to indicate that an element of CSS or HTML protocol is obsolescent and has been replaced

4a    Cut cross in time of Christ (8)
{ABRIDGED} – a synonym for cut or shortened is constructed by putting a word meaning to cross, a river for example, inside Anno Domini (time of Christ)

9a    What shines among surplus treasure (6)
{LUSTRE} – a shine or gloss is hidden inside the last two words of the clue

10a    Cavalier attitude devastated Oli’s army (8)
{ROYALISM} – a cavalier attitude is a clever anagram (devastated) of OLI(ver Cromwell)’S ARMY

ARVE Error: need id and provider

11a    Dead men’s fingers perhaps gripping opening of body (9)
{CORPOREAL} – dead men’s fingers, apart from being the poisonous parts of a crab, are a soft variety of a rocklike substance of various colours deposited on the bottom of the sea – put this substance around (gripping) the opening of a sweat gland to get a word meaning of the body

13a    Standing before court (5)
{ERECT} – a synonym for standing or upright is a charade of a word meaning before and an abbreviation of court

14a    Captain overdoing the rum ration might manage well (3,1,5,4)
{RUN A TIGHT SHIP} – this could be what might happen if the Captain issued too much rum to the crew, but it actually means to manage well

17a    Perhaps surgeon in Scottish island left cap (13)
{INTERNATIONAL} – run together a resident assistant surgeon, where you might be if you were in a Scottish island off the coast of Mull and L(eft) to get a sportsman (cap) who has played for his country

21a    Firing minister needing a start (5)
{ARSON} – the criminal act of deliberately setting fire to property comes from dropping the first letter (needing a start) from a church minister

23a    Eating? Having stomach ache I’d backed out (9)
{INGESTION} – a word meaning eating is created by removing (out) DI (I’D backed) from a stomach ache

24a    Nelson commonly entertains soldiers in musical performance (8)
{ORATORIO} – take a shortened form of Lord Nelson’s first name (Nelson commonly) and put it around (entertains) Other Ranks (soldiers) to get a large-scale musical work for orchestra and voices – a bit of licence is taken by dropping the initial H and saying that is a “common” version of the Admiral’s name; I can find nothing to support this

25a    Mail letter finally being in love (6)
{ARMOUR} – defensive clothing made of overlapping or meshed steel rings is created by putting the last character of letteR inside a word for love

26a    Person explaining the power of mathematics (8)
{EXPONENT} – a double definition – person who supports an idea or theory and tries to persuade people of its truth or a quantity representing the power to which a given number or expression is to be raised

27a    Air in a southern French city (6)
{AMIENS} – put an air or manner between A and S(outhern) to get a city in northern France


1d    Widow got old flame going keeping cool at first (6)
{RELICT} – an archaic term for a widow, seen these days on gravestones from Shakespeare’s time, is created by putting a word meaning got an old flame going again around (keeping) the first letter of Cool

2d    Old soldier restarted conflicts (6,3)
{DESERT RAT} – a soldier of the 7th British armoured division in the North African desert campaign of 1941–2, whose cap badge featured a jerboa, is an anagram (conflicts) of RESTARTED

3d    Animated film in box office’s premiere (7)
{CARTOON} – an animated film is formed by taking a box and then inserting the first letter (premiere) of Office

5d    Running in two items of footwear (11)
{BOOTLEGGING} – the running or smuggling of alcohol is a charade of two items of footwear (4,7)

6d    Most stupid cuckoo intrudes there (7)
{INANEST} – a word meaning most stupid, when split (2,1,4), gives where a cuckoo intrudes

7d    German ready to complain (5)
{GRIPE) – combine G(erman) and a synonym for ready, when applied to fruit, gives a word meaning to complain

8d    Sample of band’s work put down without a piano (4,4)
{DEMO TAPE} – a sample of a band’s work, as submitted to a record company, is derived from a word meaning to put down around (without) A P(iano)

12d    Forced return of subject directly from customs (11)
{EXTRADITION} – the forced return of a subject to his home country is a charade of directly from, when followed by works, warehouse, libris etc., and customs or passing from generation to generation of tales, beliefs etc.

15d    Great shot from difficult spot completely (4,2,3)
{HOLE IN ONE} – a great golf shot, that will usually cost you a round of drinks, is a charade of a difficult spot and completely

16d    Part of costume from comic opera, fine for the most part (8)
{PINAFORE} – a collarless sleeveless dress worn over a blouse or jumper (part of a costume) is another clever anagram (comic) of OPERA FIN(E), with surface reading alluding to Gilbert & Sullivan

ARVE Error: need id and provider

18d    Controlled gangster in Asian city (7)
{RANGOON} – a charade of controlled or administered with a gangster gives the former name of a city in Burma

19d    The Cure’s number to play on guitar (7)
{NOSTRUM} – a favourite remedy is a charade of the abbreviation for number with the action of playing a guitar with a sweep of the hand

20d    Artist making an entrance cut short (6)
{INGRES} – a French Neoclassical artist is created by dropping the final letter (cut short) from an entrance

22d    Terence perhaps put foot down hard (5)
{STAMP} – the surname of the actor known for, among others, The Collector and Far from the Madding Crowd also means to put one’s foot down hard

One or two good clues today, my particular favourites being the clever surface reading that accompanied the anagrams at 10a and 16d.

14 comments on “Toughie 407

  1. I enjoyed this very much, especially tne nautical references, 14a being marked as my clue of the day. Had a bit of a problem with putting the wrong endings to 3d and 23a which didn’t help the linked words but soon sorted it out. Thanks Messinae and Big Dave.

  2. As I said in the Cryptic Comments #16, I enjoyed this as it seemed I “connected ” with the setter quite quickly. And, as you say C’Sue, the slight Naval theme was nice. Thanks BD et al.

  3. It might have been more appropriate had our setter used the more traditional Cockney indicator to drop the leading aitch in 24a? But “common” worked fine for me.

  4. As previously stated, a good workout. Managed to complete this before the blog was posted. Must be a first.
    Favourite clue, 16d, least favoured was 11a.

  5. Pretty straightforward puzzle, but most enjoyable. Liked 24a and 23a. Thanks for the blog, don’t realise how much we take it for granted these days – its great to be able to understand the wordplay even though we may have solved the clues.

  6. Came to this late after golf.
    I would agree with the sentiments but would take issue with the second item of “footwear” at 5d
    14a was lovely an thanks to both.

  7. Worked hard to complete three quarters of this! Some just leapt to mind but SW corner nothing. HOW could I not get 21a? Perhaps because I was watching television at the same time, and it doesn’t help. Silly old moo! Otherwise enjoyed it, thanks to Messinae and BD

  8. Struggled but got there eventually. 6d and 8d were particular problems and even with the hints it took a while for the penny to drop.
    Still do not understand the star rating. If the cryptic today was a 4* then to me this was at least an 8*.

  9. Gentel and enjoyable. Thanks to Messinae for the crossword. Favourites were 14a and 16d.

  10. Nice one. Didn’t get anything nautical even having spent some years at sea. Maybe I am a bit dense.

  11. Finished this one with help on the final 3 in the bottom r/h corner. Would never have got 20d without help – nor 27a . Particularly liked 15d and 26a.

    Now on to today’s offerings.

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