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Toughie 440

Toughie No 440 by Petitjean

A Dedicated Follower of Fashion

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

I enjoyed this puzzle by Petitjean much more than I had his last one. It doesn’t have as many obscurities and it has a nice variety of clues, with a mini-theme covering items of clothing. It does have what this week seems to be an obligatory homophone which doesn’t work.
Your comments are welcome as always, and please remember to show how much you enjoyed the puzzle by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

3a  See 1a

6a/25a  Furious Sting aghast without a special pre-nup arrangement (4,5)
{STAG NIGHT} – this pre-nup arrangement is an all-male affair. It’s an anagram (furious) of STING AGH(as)T without A and S(pecial). I love “pre-nup arrangement”.

8a  Ton-up, it’s revealed, in a Mini (5)
{THIGH} – combine T(on) and a synonym for up to reveal what’s on show when a miniskirt is worn. I don’t feel that I’ve explained this very clearly – perhaps an illustration would help!

9a  Scot in pursuit of a German mug of beer displaying a touch of genius (11)
{EINSTEINIAN} – put a Scottish male forename after a German indefinite article and a large beer mug (also German) to make an adjective based on the name of a great physicist.

10a  No lentil puree should be lumpy (5)
{NODAL} – combine NO and one of the spellings of a lentil dish that you’re likely to find on the menu of your local Indian restaurant.

11a  Odds-on Lulu’s heart being in Little Richard’s ‘Money’ (11)
{SPONDULICKS} – this is a very cleverly-constructed clue. Start with SP (starting price, odds) and ON, then put the central letters (heart) of (L)UL(u) inside a diminutive form of Richard plus the ‘S to make an informal (originally American) term for money.

16a  A byway out of the country (6)
{ABROAD} – double definition, with the first being (1,1,4).

17a  Leave unobtrusively, with distaste, a loutish gathering (5,3)
{STEAL OUT} – hidden (gathering) in the clue is a phrasal verb meaning to leave unobtrusively.

19a  Poe confused with Cumbrian writer (8)
{PENWOMAN} – did anyone else think that the Cumbrian writer was going to be (Melvyn) Bragg? The definition is writer (more likely to be Beatrix Potter than Melvyn Bragg) and the Cumbrian is NW MAN. You then have to insert the letters (confused) of POE where they’ll fit. This does verge on being an indirect anagram, but since the letters of NW MAN are retained in their original order I think that it’s ok.

20a  Instruction from Cockney’s libido to lips? (6)
{KISSER} – double definition – the instruction from the Cockney’s libido might be (4,’2) and this is also a slang term for the lips or mouth.

22a  Excellent umpiring follows adverse decision for batsman (11)
{OUTSTANDING} – put the decision that sends a batsman back to the pavilion ahead of a technical term for umpiring (as well as being a literal description of what umpiring involves) to make an adjective meaning excellent.

25a  See 6a

27a  Hot cocoa put out for dedicated spectator (5,6)
{COUCH POTATO} – an anagram (out) of HOT COCOA PUT produces someone who expends little energy in acquiring his (or her) entertainment.

28a  State the first subject for discussion (5)
{THEME} – the standard abbreviation for the State of Maine is preceded by THE.

29a  Being late, singer gets lift (4)
{OTIS} – double definition, the forename of the late singing star, Mr Redding and the well-known lift manufacturer.

30a  See 4d

Down Clues

1d/3a School uniform that’s sometimes felt after European fashion (4,6)
{ETON COLLAR} – part of the uniform once worn at that school in Berkshire is something that may get felt if you’re arrested coming after E(uropean) and a synonym for fashion.

2d  Emphatic evocation of 1 which is bound to be below 3 across (7,4)
{WINDSOR KNOT} – the town forming the first part of the answer is a neighbour of 1d but the answer sounds like (evocation) an emphatic denial from the natives of 1d that they are part of that town. It’s also a way of tying (which is bound) an item of clothing below 3a.

3d  23 surfacing in King’s Road? (7,4)
{CHELSEA BOOT} – elastic-sided footwear is made from a smart district of London where King’s Road is to be found followed by the German spelling of the vessel in 23d.

4d/30a   Phil’s finale on Everly Brother middle eight a landmark (6,6)
{LONDON BRIDGE} – this capital landmark is a charade of the last letter (finale) of (Phi)L, ON, the name of one of the Everly Brothers and a connecting or transitional passage in music (middle eight being a short section in the middle of a popular song which differs from the rest).

5d  Revolutionary diet not a cure (8)
{ANTIDOTE} – an anagram (revolutionary) of DIET NOT A.

6d  Articulate genial branch of Islam (5)
{SUNNI} – this orthodox branch of Islam is supposed to sound like (articulate) an adjective meaning bright or genial. The only problem is that the two words do not sound alike at all.

7d  A need for old-fashioned expression of regret (5)
{ALACK} – an archaic expression of regret is A followed by a synonym for need.

12d  Seventh tone elongated in discord (7,4)
{LEADING NOTE} – an anagram (discord) of ELONGATED IN gives us (thanks Chambers) “the seventh tone of a major or minor scale, which leads the hearer to expect the tonic to follow”.

13d  Adopting a casual attitude, leading politician is interrupted by TV presenter over education (5-6)
{CROSS-LEGGED} – a description of someone sitting in a relaxed manner (adopting a casual attitude) is made from our new deputy PM with a chat-show host inside, ending with an abbreviation for education.

14d  Set air-screw for take-off (6)
{SATIRE} – this take-off is a form of entertainment which holds the pompous and corrupt up to ridicule and scorn by the use of humour. It’s an anagram (screw) of SET AIR.

15d  Father keels over in the embrace of absurdly posh old lyricist (6)
{SAPPHO} – this old female lyricist who lived on Lesbos is a short abbreviation for father reversed (keels over) inside an anagram (absurdly) of POSH.

18d  Airline service: con or easy target? (4,4)
{BARN DOOR} – a proverbially easy target is a charade of an airline, one of our armed services, a synonym for to con and OR.

21d  More than a tad risque, blunt and foul-mouthed (6)
{RIBALD} – more than a tad indicates that we need two letters from the start of RI(squé). Follow this with a synonym for blunt or frank to make an adjective meaning foul-mouthed.

23d  Classy straw hat the Queen removed with craft (1-4)
{U-BOAT} – for classy read “upper-classy”. Follow this with a straw hat from which the Queen’s initials have been dropped to make a naval craft.

24d  A beating with hose (5)
{SOCKS} – double definition. I hadn’t heard of the first definition, meaning a beating, but Chambers had.

26d  Heard 11 or 15, say, are full (4)
{TEEM} – a verb meaning to be full of or swarm with sounds like (heard) 11 cricketers or 15 rugby union players.

The clues I liked included 6a, 27a, 13d and 18d, but my favourite was 11a. Let us have your thoughts in a comment.

11 comments on “Toughie 440

  1. 11a, 18d and 4d/30a were certainly my favourites for the fun constructions. Thanks to gazza for the blog and allaying my fears on some of the constructions – It must be my headache!.
    Thanks too to petitjean for an entertaining puzzle.

  2. 11a was one of my first clues in, having seen this answer before (I think in an earlier toughie), and 19a was my last to go in.
    Favourite picture 8a!
    Thanks to Petitjean for the puzzle, and to gazza for the review.

  3. Thanks for your help with a couple of the clues, Gazza. I thought that I had 8a, but definitely needed your visual aid to confirm this! More seriously, I couldn’t see 19a, which was cleverly misleading me towards a “male” solution, until your explanation revealed all. Yes, I agree, an entertaining challenge from Little J, with no real issues. I’ve even heard 6d sound similar on the 6 o’clock news!

  4. Got it all except 19a which considering the day I am having isn’t bad at all. A nice mid week, not too tough, toughie -thank you Petitjean and also thanks to Gazza for 19a explanation and entertaining pics. Don’t know what the other ladies think, but the gentlemen aren’t very exciting! Favourites 8a and 11a.

    1. I’ve just noticed that Gazza’s pictures have an unfair proportion of male to female content….

      1. Thanks for pointing that out, Jezza. It’s a serious flaw and I’ll try to compensate for it in my next blog.

    2. Same here, with 19a which we didn’t really like at all!. Otherwise a very nice puzzle, hampered by the misspelling of 9a when I finished it with UM. Thanks as usual for the blog, comments and of course the puzzle!

  5. Hi Gazza, in your hint for 27a you’ve put in potato instead of cocoa is that one of you deliberate mistakes to keep us on our toes, thanks for your hints today as I was struggling. :D

    1. Thanks, Gari – not deliberate, just incompetent (though I have noticed that a few mistakes does wonders for the number of comments :D ). Fixed now.

  6. I’m sorry to say that Petitjean has once again defeated me, I was doing great but I just could not see 19a and had to use your hint, even then I could not get it so eventually had to look at your answer. Thanks Petitjean for once again stretching my overly thick brain cells to their limit, I loved 8a and 6/25a. Thanks Gazza for the superb review.

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