Toughie 424

Toughie No 424 by Giovanni

The Lonesome Crustacean

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I don’t think that this is substantially different, in terms of difficulty, from some of Giovanni’s normal cryptic puzzles on Fridays. There are a couple of uncommon words (or rather, uncommon meanings of common words), but nothing that’s not gettable from the wordplay. Do you agree or not? Let me know in a comment.
Please remember to click on one of the stars below to show how much you enjoyed the puzzle.

Across Clues

1a  Sea creature — the thing caught on bank around east of island (6,4)
{HERMIT CRAB} – the definition is sea creature. String together a pronoun relating to an inanimate object (the thing), C(aught) and a synonym for sandbank reversed (around) and put all this after (east of, in an across clue) the name of a small island off the coast of Guernsey.

6a  Cycle past second tree (4)
{SORB} – put a word meaning cycle of time after S(econd) to make a tree, also known as the service tree.

9a  Bone’s one covered in resin beside another one (5)
{ILIAC} – we want an adjective meaning relating to a large broad bone which forms the upper part of each half of the pelvis. Put I (one) inside a dark-red transparent resin, then put all of this after (beside) another I.

10a  I miss a lot, flying very high (9)
{ALTISSIMO} – an anagram (flying) of I MISS A LOT makes a musical term meaning very high in pitch.

12a  Offer to listen to man, being compassionate (6-7)
{TENDER-HEARTED} – a compound adjective meaning compassionate is a charade of an offer or proposal, a synonym for to listen and an abbreviated man’s name (think of our Prime Minister of the early seventies, always known to me as Grocer because of his Private Eye nickname).

14a  Crumb of consecrated bread, item taken by priest (8)
{PARTICLE} – as well as meaning a minute amount the answer (thanks to Chambers) means a crumb of consecrated bread or a portion used in the communion of the laity (in the Roman Catholic church). Put an item or thing after the single-letter abbreviation for priest.

15a  Elaborate lyrics rendered by salvationists in port (6)
{ODESSA} – poems with elaborate lyrics precede the abbreviation for the Salvation Army to make a port on the Black Sea.

17a  Soldier’s memory getting to disappear almost (6)
{ROMMEL} – the soldier is the German general known (to the British troops in WWII) as the desert fox. Put a type of computer memory in front of most of a verb meaning to disappear or dissolve.

19a  Enchanting activity of bee? (8)
{SPELLING} – double definition, bee here being a competition.

21a  Game with toy car? (9,4)
{MINIATURE GOLF} – this cut-down version of a sport (called “pitch and putt” in some manifestations) could cryptically be a toy VW.

24a  Attempts to restrict old plays of a certain type (9)
{TRAGEDIES} – the definition is plays of a certain type. Put a synonym for attempts around (to restrict) another word for old.

25a  Policeman takes a trail west (5)
{GARDA} – an Irish police officer is, reading right-to left, i.e. going west in an across clue, A and a trail of scent left by an animal.

26a  Merrymaking with no very short dance (4)
{REEL} – start with a synonym for merrymaking and remove the shortened form of V(ery).

27a  Badly organised cruise soon makes one very critical (10)
{CENSORIOUS} – an anagram (badly organised) of CRUISE SOON.

Down Clues

1d  This salutation sounds robust (4)
{HAIL} – an archaic greeting or salutation sounds like an adjective meaning healthy or robust.

2d  Swagger and roll around island (7)
{ROISTER} – by a strange coincidence this word, with a minor variation in spelling, appeared in yesterday’s Toughie. It’s a verb meaning to swagger, and to construct it you need to put a roll or register around I(sland).

3d  Selfish northern team admits fraud — get cross about that (13)
{INCONSIDERATE} – the definition is selfish. Start with N(orthern) and a synonym for team and between the two (admits) put a word meaning fraud or scam. Finally, surround what you’ve got with an adjective meaning cross or angry.

4d  Beg, simply heading off in spiritless fashion (8)
{CRAVENLY} – a charade of a verb meaning to beg and an adverb meaning simply or solely from which the first letter has been dropped (heading off).

5d  A dream? I must go after it! (5)
{AITCH} – put together A and a dream or longing (the question mark possibly indicating that the indefinite article here should be “an” rather than “a”) to get what precedes I.

7d  Drugs one had in the course of surgical procedures (7)
{OPIATES} – put I (one) and had or consumed inside a short word for surgical procedures.

8d  Like a sort of line a loud beggar spouted, line to be ignored (5-5)
{BROAD GAUGE} – the definition of a line of track with rails more than 1.435 metres apart is an anagram (spouted?) of A (L)OUD BEGGAR without L(ine). Spouted does seem to be a peculiar anagram indicator!

11d  Modern gals can spread gossip (13)
{SCANDALMONGER} – this is an anagram (spread) of MODERN GALS CAN. In order for it to mean gossip (as opposed to gossiper) it has to be a verb, but neither Chambers nor any other dictionary I consulted recognises it as such, though Chambers does have it with an –ing suffix.

13d  One discovers how much inspiration there has been (10)
{SPIROMETER} – cryptic definition of an instrument used to measure lung capacity.

16d  Placates animals with vegetables to be eaten (8)
{APPEASES} – put animals around (to be eaten) vegetables to get placates.

18d  Picture label with mostly brass edging (7)
{MONTAGE} – a composite picture is made by sticking a label inside what brass is a slang term for, with its final letter dropped (mostly).

20d  Conclude with refusal to be in a place of horror (7)
{INFERNO} – a synonym for conclude or deduce is followed by a refusal to make Dante’s place of horror.

22d  One needs patronage ultimately to join (5)
{UNITE} – a single item (one) is followed by the last letter (ultimately) of patronagE.

23d  Maybe German workers taking Germany apart (4)
{HANS} – a male forename which is possibly German is what’s left when you remove (taking apart) the IVR code for Germany from another word for workers.

The clues I liked today included 1a, 19a, 3d and 18d, but my clue of the day is 21a. Let us know what you liked in a comment.


  1. crypticsue
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Needed a bit of cogitation today for 2 clues. Agree with your assessment of difficulty/enjoyment. All gettable apart from 6a for which I needed some help from another, but we weren’t sure why so thanks for the explanation. Liked the same clues as you but my clue of the day is 23d, mainly because it was a major D’Oh moment when I got it. Thanks to Giovanni for the brain stretching and Gazza for the help.

  2. Ozonedog
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    SORB! I’ve just spent ten minutes trying to figure out why it was Boab ( a tree I’ve heard of unlike sorb)

  3. gnomethang
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    23d was probably my favourite. I failed on 6a – I was thinking about BOAB (No, not you!, the Boabab tree!) but couldn’t make the clue work. Never heard of this tree either but you live and learn!.
    Thanks to Gazza and to Giovanni

  4. BigBoab
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Like everyone else, I was sure it was boab at 6a, so held me up for ages, other than that it was a fairly straightforward and enjoyable puzzle. Thanks Giovanni and thanks to Gazza for the great review.

  5. Posted September 15, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Needed a double dose of Sue’s cogitation to find the ‘Desert Fox’ at 17a for last to go in by quite a way. Knowing the tree genus Sorbus helped for 6a, but I’d never come across that shortened form before. Orb for cycle not an easy connection to make and the b from 8d was vital.
    Sort of Toughie I most enjoy today – ie like one of the more taxing DT cryptics, and not a ‘purists’ Toughie….
    1a, 21a, 3d etc. Some nice clues.

  6. Posted September 15, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was a pedestrian puzzle. I fail to understand why setters continue to use boy’s (and girl’s) names, especially foreign ones. The continuing improvement in Cephas’s Saturday puzzles is due, in part, to his reduction in the number of proper nouns.

    • GoldenDuck
      Posted September 15, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      That reminds me – I must re-read Lynne Truss’ s (?) book “Eats, Shoots & Leaves” – chapter “The Tractable Apostrophe”.

    • Posted September 15, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      At least it’s Hans, not the usual German favourite Otto….

  7. grandsire
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    After yesterdays success, struggled badly with this. Never heard of sorb. Still, very enjoyable if a little too taxing for the old grey matter. Thanks to you all.

  8. Giovanni
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    How nice to know that Big **** (mustn’t use names, must we?) solved my puzzle while out for a walk

    • Posted September 15, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      You could say it was a stroll!

  9. GoldenDuck
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Back down to earth with a bang! Failed miserably after recent successes with the Toughie! Many thanks to Gazza for his explanations! Not so sure about thanking Giovanni?

    • GoldenDuck
      Posted September 15, 2010 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      Giovanni, Grazie Mille……Molte Grazie!

  10. brendam
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    I’m pretty pleased with myself! Didn’t finish without Gazza’s blog but what I had was right. Would never have sussed 17a, still think it a poor clue [how dare I criticize?] but overall very enjoyable. Thanks Giovanni and Gazza

  11. Prolixic
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    A belated thank you to Giovanni for this puzzle. Fairly gentle until the final five or six clues that required mulling over and cracking. Thanks too to Gazza for the review.