Toughie 452

Toughie No 452 by Giovanni

A Surfeit of Names

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

There are lots of proper names in this puzzle – forenames, surnames, towns, regions and countries. There are also a few words which are new (to me at any rate) but Giovanni, as usual, makes the wordplay fairly straightforward for these.
As always, we like to get your opinions in a comment, and please remember to show how much you enjoyed it by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

1a  Going after female is yours truly romancer being over-free? (8)
{FAMILIAR} – the definition is over-free or impertinently informal. After the abbreviation for female put the first person singular form of the verb to be, reversed to match the “is yours truly” in the clue, and someone who embroiders the truth (romancer).

5a  Inadequate reason for copper to penetrate group in party (6)
{CAUCUS} – start with a synonym for reason which loses its final E (inadequate) and put the chemical symbol for copper inside (to penetrate) to make a group within a political party.

9a  Somewhere in Yorkshire the woman’s tucking into rubbish meat (9)
{ROTHERHAM} – this town in South Yorkshire is formed by putting a feminine pronoun (the woman’s) between a synonym for rubbish and a type of meat.

11a  Excellent bit of food seen around old part of Africa (5)
{NUBIA} – an ancient region of Africa in southern Egypt and northern Sudan is made from an abbreviation for excellent and a bit of food eaten at teatime all reversed (seen around).

12a  Heaven on earth without opiates denied some (6)
{UTOPIA} – the place where everything is perfect, as first envisaged by Sir Thomas More, is hidden (some) in the clue. “Denied” appears to be just padding.

13a  One feels one must talk quietly with snake behind (8)
{PRATTLER} – someone who likes rabbiting is the abbreviation for quietly followed by a type of snake.

15a  Emphasising to good effect, banging on the wall maybe (9,4)
{HAMMERING HOME} – a phrase meaning emphasising forcefully could describe a DIY enthusiast noisily at work.

18a  Replace sex toy, damaged instrument (1,3,9)
{X RAY TELESCOPE} – an anagram (damaged) of REPLACE SEX TOY produces an instrument mounted on an artificial satellite and used to investigate emissions from stars. The instrument normally has a hyphen between the first and second words.

22a  Country song swelling briefly at the start (8)
{BULGARIA} – this European country is a song preceded by a swelling without its final E (briefly).

23a  Protein this person’s bone has inside (6)
{MYOSIN} – a protein which helps muscles contract is a charade of this person’s, a latin word for a bone and a shortened form of inside.

26a  Histrionics when tot confronts adult (5)
{DRAMA} – tot here is a slug rather than an infant.

27a  It’s no use, girl being abused as ‘bird’ (4,5)
{RING OUSEL} – an anagram (being abused) of NO USE GIRL gives us a blackish thrush.

28a  Early life with drug (not soft)? That spells trouble (6)
{MAYHEM} – the definition is trouble or havoc. Start with the month which symbolises the early, carefree part of life and follow this with a drug minus P (not soft).

29a  After fiddling, earns big position (8)
{BEARINGS} – an anagram (after fiddling) of EARNS BIG.

Down Clues

1d  Shy person in taxi stifling exclamation of discomfort (8)
{FAROUCHE} – an adjective meaning shy or ill at ease is what a taxi-driver calls his passenger around (stifling) an exclamation of discomfort.

2d  Saw married man in Germany? (5)
{MOTTO} – saw here is a noun and it’s not the cutting variety.

3d  Type of current produces change with fish heading north (3,4)
{LEE TIDE} – this current moves in the same direction as the wind. Start with a verb meaning to change or amend and add a long fish, then reverse the lot (heading north, in a down clue).

4d  Pain one gets in hospital? Quite the opposite (4)
{ACHE} – so it’s not one inside hospital but H(ospital) inside one.

6d  Dye — an international organisation consumes tons (7)
{ANNATTO} – this (a new word to me) is a bright orange colouring matter. String together AN and the abbreviation of a military alliance and then insert (consumes) T(ons).

7d  Visitor getting round to entertain a British gentleman abroad (9)
{CABALLERO} – this is a gentleman abroad, the Spanish equivalent of a cavalier or chevalier to be precise. A visitor followed by a round letter have A and B(ritish) inserted (entertain).

8d  After sun wait — till the sky becomes this? (6)
{STARRY} – if you wait long enough after the sun goes down this is what the sky may become. Put a verb meaning to wait after S(un).

10d  Something flowery — dress past its best mum’s put on (8)
{MARIGOLD} – if something sticky is a stick then something flowery defines a flower. String together a verb meaning to dress or equip and an adjective meaning no longer fresh (past its best) and before them (on, in a down clue) put a diminutive mum.

14d  One making attempt to pursue success is less cheerful (8)
{WINTRIER} – put someone making an attempt after (to pursue) a synonym for success.

16d  Martha’s sister hides a sign of something wrong, bad in the jaw (9)
{MAXILLARY} – we want an adjective meaning relating to the jaw. Put Martha’s sister in the New Testament around (hides) A, the teacher’s mark (sign) to show that your homework is wrong and a synonym for bad.

17d  Painter mixing reds only (8)
{REYNOLDS} – an anagram (mixing) of REDS ONLY leads to a painter and first president of the Royal Academy.

19d  Article received by a servant as a royal perk? (7)
{APANAGE} – put A and a boy messenger (servant) around the indefinite article to make a word (new to me) meaning the provision made for the maintenance of the younger royal children.

20d  Queen to have extra time looking around, we hear? (7)
{SEYMOUR} – this is the surname of the third wife of Henry VIII (and mother of Edward VI). It sounds like (we hear) to have an extended viewing.

21d  Before beginning to move I remain in the same place (6)
{IBIDEM} – a latin word used in texts to refer to a source previously cited (in the same place) is I and a synoym for remain followed by the first letter (beginning) of M(ove).

24d  Odd bits of song about country girl (5)
{SUSAN} – put a country inside the odd letters of SoNg to get a girl’s name.

25d  Provided with men, MD sacked woman (4)
{ANNE} – start with a past participle meaning staffed (provided with men) and remove the MD which are the outside letters to leave a woman’s name.

I liked 1a and 21d today but my favourite clue was 26a. Let us know what you liked in a comment!


  1. crypticsue
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed solving this today. Like the Cryptic, I did start off thinking it was going to be hard work, but everything soon fell into place including all those less familiar words which I somehow managed to dredge up from the back of my brain. I liked lots of clues but will plump, for obvious reasons :) for 24d – you won’t believe how long it took me for the penny to drop! Thanks to Giovanni for the very enteraining crossword and Gazza for the explanations.

  2. Prolixic
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Giovanni for a good workout of the grey matter. Solving this was a little like a game of pass the parcel. Different layers unwrapped to reveal little treats until the puzzle was solved. Favourite clue was 21d.

    Well done Gazza on another fine review.

  3. bigmacsub
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Permalink


  4. Andy
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    I thought I was actually going to finish this, but for some daft reason just couldn’t work out 5a without resorting to Gazzas clue. Oh well, both puzzles today great fun. No particular favourite although looking outside the window at the gloom it is definetely feeling 14d. Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  5. BigBoab
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Great crossword, some parts were very easy and others very difficult. I have never come across 1d,16d or 19d before but as with most Giovanni crosswords it was reasonably easy to work out, though I did need Chambers. I don’t normally like anagrams ( because I’m not too good at them ) but I loved 18a. Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

  6. gnomethang
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Reasonably enjoyable today but I can’t help thinking that I prefer Giovanni’s Fridays to his Toughies. Favourites were 26a and 27a. The NE corner held me up the longest containing, as it did, two unknown intersecting words.
    Thanks to g and G.

  7. Nubian
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    A pleasure to do and very educational. I feel very humbled.
    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  8. Jezza
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    A couple of the across clues held me up,in what was otherwise a straightforward, and enjoyable puzzle.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to Gazza.

  9. ChrisH
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    Always enjoyable to crack a toughie. As above, I hadn’t come across 1d,16d or 19d, but yes, possible to work out from the clues which, I suppose, is the essence of a good crossword.

  10. Derek
    Posted November 4, 2010 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Solved this early this morning – too tired to start last night (medicinal problems).
    A very enjoyable puzzle Giovanni – full marks from me – good mix of clues.
    Did the NW corner rapidly then the bottom half. NE corner last.
    Best for me were :11a, 13a, 15a, 18a, 27a, 3d, 6d, 16d & 20d.

  11. Posted November 8, 2010 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    3 new words for me – 1A, 27A & 6D.

    22A got me puzzled at first until I got some down letters and, would you believe it, the radio news announcer said, “Bulgaria” and the bulg/e and aria fell into place.

    As a medic though I particularly liked 23A MYSSIN.

  12. Posted November 8, 2010 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Sorry for the typo! It was of course MYOSIN.