Toughie 451

Toughie No 451 by MynoT

What’s the time?

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

MynoT has given us some struggles in the past, but this is not one of them. The wordplay for a few is a bit tricky, but overall a straightforward puzzle.

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.

Across

1a    Skirt softly dangerous abyss (4,2)
{PASS BY} – a phrasal verb meaning to skirt is derived from the musical term for softly and an anagram of ABYSS

4a    User of police in a poll (4-4)
{ACID HEAD} – this drug user is built up by putting the police detectives inside A and a poll, as in the uppermost part of the body

9a    Departs? Among the French, welcome (6)
{LEAVES} – a verb meaning departs is derived by putting the French plural definite article around a Latin welcome

10a    Mollycoddled female student in second group? On the contrary (8)
{COSSETED} – a word meaning mollycoddled is built by putting a female student around S(econd) and a group – “on the contrary” indicates that the instructions given in the clue are to be reversed

12a    Heard to grieve before lunch (4)
{MORN} – a word that sounds like a synonym of to grieve means the period before lunch

13a    Colour heads possibly (5)
{SHADE} – this colour is an anagram (possibly) of HEADS

14a    Rest of the deceased (4)
{EASE} – a word meaning rest is hidden inside the clue

17a    State of Blithe Spirit (12)
{CHEERFULNESS} – a cryptic definition of the state of being blithe or merry – this could, at a pinch be a double definition

20a    Present next month (9,3)
{CHRISTMAS BOX} – a present you might give to a tradesman next month

23a    Tail to rise up (4)
{REAR} – a double definition – the tail of a procession or to rise up, as for an animal on two legs

24a    Polish, Hebrew and French letters (5)
{SHINE} – a word meaning to polish is a charade of the Hebrew letter ש and the French (or English) letter E – unless I’ve missed something the significance of the last letter being French eludes me

25a    This could be indicative of temper (4)
{MOOD} – a cryptic definition of being in a temper

28a    I’m on public transport and feet (8)
{IAMBUSES} – expand I’m to its full format and then add the public transport that usually come along in threes to get these metrical feet, used in poetry

29a    Dispenses with one in expressions of farewell (6)
{WAIVES} – a verb meaning dispenses with is constructed by putting I (one) inside expressions of farewell

30a    At school elk creates gossip (8)
{SCHMOOSE} – a charade of SCH(ool) and an elk gives this Yiddish gossip – my copy of Chambers has three different spellings of this word, but the answer is not one of them!

31a    Union’s noises off (6)
{ENOSIS} – this union is the aim and rallying-cry of the Greek Cypriot movement for union with Greece – it’s an anagram (off) of NOISES

Down

1d    Europeans grabbing microphone for controversy and debate (8)
{POLEMICS} – put these Europeans around (grabbing) a MIC(rophone) to get controversy and debate

2d    Perhaps Arabian ecofreak’s description of incorruptibility (3-5)
{SEA-GREEN} – a charade of a body of water of which the Arabian is an example is followed by an ecofreak to get a description of incorruptibility – I didn’t know this one, but Chambers gives a ***-***** incorruptible as “a person sincerely and unshakably devoted to an ideal or purpose, especially in public life (originally used by Carlyle of Robespierre)”

3d    Meetings of heartless pin-ups (4)
{BEES} – these meetings or get-togethers, for spelling or sewing etc., come from a word for pin-ups with the middle two or four letters removed (heartless), depending on which pin-up you choose

5d    Firm talking about loud noise leads to working in harmony (12)
{COORDINATING} – a shortened form of a firm is followed by a word meaning talking around a loud noise to get a verb meaning working in harmony

6d    American in Denmark getting dark (4)
{DUSK} – an American inside the IVR code for Denmark results in a word meaning the time when it is getting dark

7d    Bye bye! (6)
{EXTRAS} – two byes in cricket are two of these

8d    Take car first: one could be artful (6)
{DODGER} – R (Recipe / take) is preceded by an American car to get the Artful one from Oliver Twist

11d    Having revolting habits means lushes need hosing to be reformed (12)
{GHOULISHNESS} – a word meaning having revolting habits or tastes is an anagram (reformed) of LUSHES and HOSING

15d    One travelling in time: how? (2,3)
{DR WHO} – the famous BBC1 time traveller is an instruction to get HOW by forming an anagram

16d    Donkey always makes a try (5)
{ASSAY} – a charade of a donkey and a word meaning always gives a word meaning to try or attempt

18d    Sailor finds answer and forgives (8)
{ABSOLVES} – a charade of a sailor and finds the answer (to this clue perhaps) gives a verb meaning forgives

19d    Neat fish is beginning to eat sulphur and becomes rusty (8)
{OXIDISES} – run together neat, as in cattle, a fish, IS and the initial letter (beginning) of E(at) and the chemical symbol for S(ulphur) gives a word meaning becomes rusty – if the initial letters of both eat and sulphur were to be taken then the clue would need to have “beginnings”

21d    Putting it in scruffy furs could produce consequences (6)
{FRUITS} – put IT inside an anagram (scruffy) of FURS give the consequences of one’s labours

22d    Fighting with little time for passion (6)
{WARMTH} – a charade of fighting and a shortened form of month (time) gives this word meaning passion

26d    Sport adds up to nothing: not special (4)
{SUMO} – this Japanese sport comes from a synonym of adds up together with O (nothing) without the final S of the first word, indicated by not S(pecial)

27d    Bird to greet new morning (4)
{DAWN} – a bird of the crow family followed by N(ew) gives the morning

There seems to be a mini theme of times of the day.

The real theme, as pointed out by the setter (theme answers in orange):

No!

No sun–no moon!
No morn–no noon!
No dawn–no dusk–no proper time of day–
No sky–no earthly view–
No distance looking blue–
No road–no street–no “t’other side this way”–
No end to any Row–
No indications where the Crescents go–
No top to any steeple–
No recognitions of familiar people–
No courtesies for showing ’em–
No knowing ’em!
No traveling at all–no locomotion–
No inkling of the way–no notion–
“No go” by land or ocean–
No mail–no post–
No news from any foreign coast–
No Park, no Ring, no afternoon gentility–
No company–no nobility–
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member–
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds–
November!

Thomas Hood

No!
User Rating:
8.0 /10
(7 votes)
– vote – 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

No sun–no moon!
No morn–no noon!
No dawn–no dusk–no proper time of day–
No sky–no earthly view–
No distance looking blue–
No road–no street–no “t’other side this way”–
No end to any Row–
No indications where the Crescents go–
No top to any steeple–
No recognitions of familiar people–
No courtesies for showing ’em–
No knowing ’em!
No traveling at all–no locomotion–
No inkling of the way–no notion–
“No go” by land or ocean–
No mail–no post–
No news from any foreign coast–
No Park, no Ring, no afternoon gentility–
No company–no nobility–
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member–
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds–
November!

Thomas Hood

28 Comments

  1. crypticsue
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed solving this offering from MynoT although I did have to have a small ‘discussion’ with Prolixic to confirm my thoughts on a couple of the clues. I wasn’t sure about the E in 24a either, but I did find the spelling of 30a on the interweb. Thanks to MynoT and BD for the crossword/explanations.

    • gazza
      Posted November 2, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      24a In the late 1960s when the Anglo-French supersonic passenger aircraft was named, there was a dispute as to whether it should be called Concord or Concorde. Eventually the British side caved in and a memo was sent around the Ministry of Aviation (as it was then called) to the effect that the use of the French letter was compulsory at all times.

      • crypticsue
        Posted November 2, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        I was too busy learning how to solve the DT Cryptic at the end of the 1960s to notice things like letters on the end of the names of planes :D

      • Posted November 2, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

        I very carefully avoided putting those two words next to each other!

        • Digby
          Posted November 2, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

          So, is the amusing account of the spelling of Concord(e) the answer as to why MynoT uses “French” in the clue? If so, a bit misleading / vague I feel?

  2. gnomethang
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Not too many problems here apart from some wordplay. I thought that for 3d we needed to remove the middle 2 letters (LL) from pin-up girls, I can’t think of a 4 letter subtraction.
    Thanks to MynoT and BD.

    • Posted November 2, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Interesting!

      I had BE(AUTI)ES, you had BE(LL)ES!

      • Dynamic
        Posted November 2, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

        My PinC and I struggled with 3d for a while and considered BEES as a possible solution for a few minutes before settling on BE(LL)ES as satisfying wordplay. Interesting, indeed.

        Also took a while for me to dismiss LATE as an unsatisfying solution (deliberate misdirection, I expect) for 14a by spotting the hidden word.

        Like you, I can’t shed any light on why E is French letter (assuming 24a is indeed correct). Made confirming the ending -TING or -TION ending of 5d a little uncertain, though the -ING matches the part of speech best, and 24a seems right. Of course for misdirection and surface reading, both Polish as a capitalized word and French letter are suggestive of other things.

        Thanks to all here and Tony M.

        • Posted November 2, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

          I toyed with LATE and WAKE for 14a

          All answers are verified correct by the Telegraph Puzzles site.

          • gazza
            Posted November 2, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

            I was convinced (before being disillusioned by the on-line site) that 14a was PACE – from requiescat in pace (RIP).

            • Posted November 2, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

              I looked at that as well!

              • crypticsue
                Posted November 2, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

                If like me you look at the acrosses before the downs, you could have also wondered about BIER. I didn’t write it in though as I was waiting for checking letters.

  3. bigmacsub
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    I’m sure I’ve seen ACID TEST as an answer for a type of poll recently hence my failure to get 8d. Live and learn…

    Thanks all round.

    • crypticsue
      Posted November 2, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      I originally had TEST which didn’t help for 8d but luckily I knew a man who told me I had the wrong word/letter at the start of 8d.

  4. BigBoab
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Not very challenging today but reasonably enjoyable. Thanks MynoT and BD.

  5. Andy
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Phew, those that I couldn’t fathom have all been mentioned in the blog as a bit odd, or in the posts that others needed clarifying. I don’t feel so bad now!!! Thanks to Mynot and BD

  6. gazza
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    I think that 25a is meant to be a double definition rather than a cryptic definition. In grammar the indicative mood expresses fact (as opposed to the subjunctive mood which expresses conditionality).

    • Posted November 2, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      I had it a a double definition in my first draft, but changed my mind as I couldn’t explain it as well as you have!

      Much the same as 17a.

  7. nigelg
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    Late to the party as usual. SWMBO suggested Be(atl)es for 3D. Depends on ones perspective I suppose.

  8. Jezza
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    I still don’t understand 24a fully. I keep thinking the French refers to French Polish = shine, but the ‘e’ at the end confuses me.

    • Posted November 3, 2010 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      Jezza

      The Hebrew letter is SHIN, hence the debate about the final E

      • Dynamic
        Posted November 3, 2010 at 9:13 am | Permalink

        My other though re “and French letter” is that it’s the first letter of “et”, the French word for “AND”.

        Is this used in French as an abbreviation, perhaps stylised in signwriting etc, in the same way as an ampersand?

        It appears to mean AND in Anglo-Norman and Old French among other languages where it’s still used today:
        http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/e#Anglo-Norman
        http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/e#Old_French

    • Derek
      Posted November 3, 2010 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      In ” Larousse en trois volumes en couleurs” the entry for et goes [e; le t ne se lie avec le mot suivant ….].
      e is also used in Italian -see my remark “cozze e vongole” yesterday!

  9. Nubian
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Quality

  10. Derek
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Started this late last night and finished it very early this morning.
    Best clues for me were : 20a, 28a, 31a, 1d, 3d, 7d, 8d, 19d & 21d.
    Had a bit of trouble with 24a as put coordinative for 5d at first. Had a bash some years ago at learning Arabic so then got shiin for letter – virtually same in Hebrew – three wiggles and a curl right to left!

    Re 30a – big Chambers A – Z has it as spelt.

  11. ChrisH
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Just about managed this on my trip to (and from) the great metropolis, despite tube threats. Was still staring at 3d and 16a at 1 a.m. the LGCs don’t work too well at that time. Didn’t help that I’d got 5d slightly wrong! A few never-seen-before words/phrases, probably never-to-be-seen-again.
    Altogether, quite enjoyable (= solvable)

  12. MynoT
    Posted November 14, 2010 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    Theme: many of the answers were words from the poem “No” by Thomas Hood which ends “November”.

    • Posted November 14, 2010 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for pointing that out. I looked for a theme and couldn’t find one. Now I know why!