Toughie 436

Toughie No 436 by Giovanni

A Game of Two Halves

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

I breezed through the bottom half of this but had more trouble in the top half. It has a nice variety of clues (with only three anagrams, hurrah!) and (for me) two new words. I enjoyed solving it, and, as always, I’d like to hear your views.
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Across Clues

1a  Extravagant male in tone of voice and singular attire (12)
{ACCOUTREMENT} – an item of dress (singular because this word is more often seen in the plural) is formed by putting an adjective, from French, meaning extravagant or over the top and the abbreviation for male inside a tone of voice.

9a  Periods said to bring such confusion (4)
{DAZE} – this is not “maze” (Mays), which was my first attempt, but a verb meaning to confuse which sounds like (said) other periods of time..

10a  Something to remove old vehicle in field? (9)
{EXTRACTOR} – the definition is something that removes (what it removes may range from teeth to unwanted smells). It’s a charade of a prefix meaning old and a vehicle which is often, but not always, to be found in a field.

12a  Flashy mineral turning brown inside (6)
{ORNATE} – an adjective meaning decorated elaborately or flashy is a naturally-occurring mineral aggregate with a light brown colour reversed (turning) inside.

13a  Returning west, one talks about female Hindu ascetic (8)
{SANNYASI} – this is a Hindu ascetic who lives by begging. We want I (one) and a synonym for speaks or talks which are all reversed (returning west, in an across clue). After that we have to insert a girl’s name (female) – think of the ex-MP and current dance candidate.

15a  Amazed to find this person housed in University outbuilding (10)
{ASTONISHED} – the definition is amazed. Put I (this person) between an educational establishment in the Midlands which has had university status since 1966 and an outbuilding.

16a  Money put down making poet penniless once (4)
{ANTE} – this is money put down, in a poker school, say. Remove the letter used for pre-decimalisation pence from the name of the most famous Italian poet. The once indicates that it is not the current abbreviation for pence that we have to drop.

18a  Smudge? First thing to avoid, getting kiss (4)
{PECK} – start with a small bit of dirt (smudge) and drop its initial S (first thing to avoid) to be left with a kiss, possibly on the cheek.

20a  Decides to prevent dangerous devices being laid? (10)
{DETERMINES} – a verb meaning decides could also mean, if split as (5,5), prevent dangerous devices being laid.

23a  Disregard verbal output of scoffing gent (5,3)
{WRITE OFF} – a phrasal verb meaning to disregard sounds like (verbal output) wry toff (scoffing gent).

24a  Some bod I’m with is not the brightest (6)
{DIMWIT} – hidden (some) in the clue is a stupid person.

26a  Raider hurried with little hesitation, having collected loot (9)
{RANSACKER} – this raider or pillager is constructed from a verb meaning hurried and an interjection expressing hesitation with a verb meaning to loot inside (having collected).

27a  Die having lost 10p in the country (4)
{EIRE} – start with a verb meaning to breath one’s last (die) and remove the Roman numeral for ten and P to leave the one-time official name of a European country.

28a  New editor in seat put into a state of perplexity (12)
{DISORIENTATE} – an anagram (new) of EDITOR IN SEAT produces a verb meaning to put into a state of perplexity.

Down Clues

2d  Cold — way of dealing with it amounts to trickery (8)
{CHEATING} – start with the abbreviation for cold and add a method of combating it.

3d  Welshman is old? Quite the opposite on reflection (4)
{OWEN} – the abbreviation for old is followed by the opposite of old reversed (on reflection) to form a Welsh forename.

4d  Move unsteadily around vehicle in a sort of line (10)
{TETRAMETER} – a verb meaning to move unsteadily (on high heels, perhaps) goes round a public service vehicle to make a line of poetry with four feet or measures. Here’s an example from a well-known Robert Frost poem, where each line consists of four measures, with each measure being an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable:

the WOODS are LOVEly, DARK and DEEP.
but I have PROMisES to KEEP,
and MILES to GO beFORE i SLEEP,
and MILES to GO beFORE i SLEEP.

5d  Girl in denial exceptionally upset (6)
{ELAINE} – hidden in the clue and reversed (upset, in a down clue) is a girl’s name.

6d  Maybe get on to express enthusiasm (7)
{ENTRAIN} – double definition – a verb meaning to board (an express, maybe) and a noun, from French, meaning enthusiasm.

7d  Abandon principles as generous person in a street looking dodgy (12)
{TERGIVERSATE} – put someone who is generous by nature inside an anagram (looking dodgy) of A STREET to make a verb meaning to desert or change sides (abandon principles).

8d  Understand about girl of 13 being a greedy sort (6)
{GANNET} – an informal verb to understand goes round the girl from 13a to get a seabird which eats fish whole and which has given its name to a greedy person.

11d  Poor lads were surprisingly energised by day (5-7)
{SOLAR-POWERED} – an anagram (surprisingly) of POOR LADS WERE.

14d  Scottish location? It’s said I adore a particular aspect of the scenery (4,2,4)
{ISLE OF SKYE} – this Scottish location sounds like (it’s said) “I love sky”. Very neat!

17d  I am in part of hospital — injection of morphine’s first thing expected (8)
{IMMINENT} – the definition is expected. String together the contracted form of I am, IN and the usual hospital department, then inject the first letter (first thing) of Morphine.

19d  Coins including pounds one obtained from customers (7)
{CLIENTS} – put the abbreviation for libra (pounds) and I (one) inside foreign coins.

21d  American city offering fresh solution to mankind’s potential destruction? (6)
{NEWARK} – a city in New Jersey, with a rather unfortunate anagram, could, if split as (3,3), be the answer to a future natural disaster.

22d  Straighten out couple again? (6)
{REPAIR} – double definition, the second meaning to bring together as a couple once more.

25d  Good sense shown when king’s brought in decree (4)
{WRIT} – start with a word for good sense or natural intelligence and insert one of the abbreviations for king to make a decree or official order.

The clues I liked included 23a, 27a, 2d, 4d and 21d, but my favourite was 14d. Let us have your opinion in a comment!

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13 Comments

  1. Posted October 6, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    21d, 1a and 14d were favourite for me. I dragged the Huindu ascetic from the back of my head somewhere but 7d needed checking up even though I understood the wordplay. Given my surname I am 15a that it took me so long to get 3d!
    Thanks to Giovanni for this fun outing and to gazza for the review.

  2. Jezza
    Posted October 6, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    If a diagonal line was drawn from the top left corner, I solved everything underneath the line very quickly, and then gradually progressed up from the bottom right hand corner.
    I struggled with the cryptic today, and found this one much easier in comparison (apart from 13a and 7d).
    Many thanks to Giovanni for an enjoyable puzzle, and to Gazza for the notes.

  3. crypticsue
    Posted October 6, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    I was going along thinkiing this is much less of a struggle than the Cryptic when I hit the top right hand corner! Ended up needing hints from the Gnome for 13a and 7d for which I thank him. 27a was my favourite. Thanks Giovanni – who knew that you could 7d?! Thanks as ever to Gazza for the explanations – your ‘bird’ pictures seem to be favouring the feathered variety lately!

  4. ChrisH
    Posted October 6, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I’d go along with most of the commnets above apart from it being easier than the cryptic. Wavelengths again! I can honestly say I’ve never heard of either 13a or 7d, and was reliant on electronic aids.
    Rather a lot of 10/12 letter words tested the vocabulary a bit, but quite a high satisfaction score for this one.

  5. Digby
    Posted October 6, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Some smashing clues, offset by a couple I didn’t really care for where the construction seemed a bit contrived. As well as the 2 mentioned above, the French half of 6d was new to me. But, a satisfying challenge from G1, and a refreshing review by G2 – many thanks.

  6. Prolixic
    Posted October 6, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks for Giovanni for an enjoyable puzzle. Favourite for me was 14d. 7d was one of those nice clues where you get the probable answer from the subsidiary indicators and then feel very smug when you look it up and find that you have right word!! Oddly, it was 5d that held me up the most. Thanks to Gazza for the review.

  7. JB
    Posted October 6, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Needed electronic aid for 7d and Chambers online for 13a, Like Chris H I hadn’t heard of either. Now, will we remember these for another time?

    • ChrisH
      Posted October 6, 2010 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      In my experience there never is ‘another time’!

  8. Birdie
    Posted October 6, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable today, with a few reasonably easy clues to get going and more challenging offerings to get one’s teeth into. I too found the top half more difficult and I learned a couple of new words – I shall try to work 7d into a conversation in the near future to sound smart!

    And I’ve just worked out the anagram of 21d!! I believe it’s acceptable on “Countdown”.

    Grazie Giovanni and thanks Gazza.

    • Digby
      Posted October 7, 2010 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      Mmm – wouldn’t have thought so, though there are times I would like to work the word into a conversation

      • Birdie
        Posted October 7, 2010 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        If you You Tube “Countdown blooper” followed by the word in question…:)

    • Franco
      Posted October 7, 2010 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

      Definitely allowed on Countdown – A pair of Newarks! !

  9. BigBoab
    Posted October 6, 2010 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Having got home late today I have just finished both this and the cryptic, most enjoyable fare. I had never heard of 13a and I think 7d must be one of Mary’s words. Thanks to Gazza and to Giovanni.