Toughie 460

Toughie No 460 by Firefly

Mounted but not Stuffed

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

It’s not the toughest of Toughies from Firefly today, but nor is it a walk in the park. I enjoyed it, although I do dislike 26a which is one of those clues where you can’t know the answer until you have a checking letter.
As always comments are most welcome, and please take the time to click on one of the stars below (number five if you adored it, number one if you hated it, or somewhere in-between).


Across Clues

1a  Growth of pack animal? (8)
{GANGLION} – a benign swelling (growth) is a charade of a group or pack and a big cat.

6a  Stick with setter, say? That’s dim! (6)
{GLOOMY} – an adjective meaning dimly lit is made from two homophones (say) – firstly a verb meaning to join with adhesive (stick) and then how the setter would refer to himself.

9a  Handwriting he’s extracted from broken pitchers (6)
{SCRIPT} – remove HE from PITC(he)RS and make an anagram (broken) of what’s left.

10a  Putting no books in central libraries is monstrous arrogance (8)
{SNOBBISM} – the definition is arrogance. Put NO and two abbreviated books inside the four central letters of “libraries is monstrous”.

11a  Network takes first of emissaries for Thailand captive (8)
{INTERNEE} – start with the network that you’re using to read this and replace the IVR code for Thailand with the first letter of E(missaries) to make a captive.

12a  Difficult situation from former engagement (6)
{PLIGHT} – an archaic word for an engagement is also a modern word for a difficult or dangerous situation, although the two have completely different derivations. I did hear a vague rumour about an engagement yesterday but there didn’t seem to be much about it on the news :D

13a  Risking a fight – as the cowboy was with his horse? (7-5)
{TRIGGER-HAPPY} – a phrase meaning ready to react violently at the slightest provocation could also, cryptically, be the sentiments of the cowboy Roy Rogers towards his horse. Although Roy died several years ago, the horse is still on display “mounted but not stuffed”.

16a  Initially rare tracheotomy operation bears little fruit (6,6)
{CHERRY TOMATO} – an anagram (operation) of R(are) and TRACHEOTEMY produces a small fruit. Knowledge is being aware that this is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

19a  Margaret’s determined to be ruined (3,3)
{PEG OUT} – a diminutive form of Margaret is followed by an adverb meaning determined (as in “he’s *** to get me”) to make an informal phrasal verb meaning to be ruined or die.

21a  Fresh tint about East River by early dawn (4-4)
{DEWY-EYED} – an adjective meaning fresh or innocent is made by putting a colouring (tint) around E(ast) and a Welsh river and then finishing with the first letter (early) of D(awn).

23a  Processed veg – as regularly pre-war? (5,3)
{SPLIT PEA} – this is a processed vegetable and the second word is divided (as indicated by the first word) among the odd letters (regularly) of pre-war.

24a  Currency problem when short of time (6)
{ROUBLE} – remove T(ime) from the start of a problem.

25a  Girl’s termly resolution (6)
{MYRTLE} – this girl’s name is an anagram (resolution) of TERMLY. The only woman that I know with this name is a moaning ghost who haunts the second-floor girls’ bathroom at Hogwarts School.

26a  Placed the accent on returning courses (8)
{DESSERTS} – I don’t like this clue. There’s no way of knowing which bit has to be reversed (returning) until you have a checking letter.

Down Clues

2d  Bow to topless female in secret… (6)
{ARCANE} – this is an adjective meaning secret or mysterious. It’s a synonym for bow followed by a girl’s name without the initial J (topless).

3d  …Fellers! Reportedly that’s the form (5)
{GUISE} – fellers is a non-standard spelling of fellows and what we want is a homophone (reportedly) of a synonym of fellows. The actual answer means external form or manner of presentation.

4d  Concentrate when dealing with decimals if unknown quantity (9)
{INTENSIFY} – the way in which you count in decimals (2,4) is followed by IF and the second unknown quantity in an algebraic expression to make a verb meaning to concentrate or strengthen.

5d  Gene mostly gets to play for the reserves (4,3)
{NEST EGG} – these reserves for a rainy day are an anagram (to play) of GEN(e) and GETS.

6d  German on consortium brought up sticky matter (5)
{GLOOP} – G(erman) precedes a group of people or consortium which is reversed (brought up, in a down clue) to make a thick viscous liquid.

7d  Bilbo got active, mysteriously independent backing (9)
{OBBLIGATO} – an anagram (mysteriously) of BILBO GOT A(ctive) generates a musical term which means (to quote The Mine) an extended solo, often accompanying the vocal part of an aria.

8d  Accident across square on base of statue creates deformity (8)
{MISSHAPE} – put a synonym for accident around (across) S(quare) and finish with the last letter (base, in a down clue) of (statu)E.

13d  Traveller about to blunder – turn away, he’s a dangerous man! (9)
{TERRORIST} – the sort of traveller who travels for pleasure contains a verb mean to blunder. Now remove the letter signifying a turn (turn away) to reveal a dangerous political or religious activist.

14d  Pieces by strolling players resurfacing, maybe? (9)
{ROADWORKS} – resurfacing, maybe is the definition by example. It’s also (4,5) a cryptic description of productions (pieces) put on by actors who walked from place to place in Tudor England.

15d  Multi-layered and specialised help with tyre (5-3)
{THREE-PLY} – a description of material having a given number of strands is an anagram (specialised) of HELP and TYRE.

17d  Grandpa’s right, perhaps, being a man of experience (3,4)
{OLD HAND} – the definition is a man of experience. Grandpa’s right could cryptically be described thus, as could his left.

18d  Radical wheeze a Lothario conceals (6)
{ZEALOT} – hidden (conceals) in the clue is a radical or fanatic.

20d  Kick around gym in hat (5)
{TOPEE} – a verb meaning to kick (using the end of the foot rather than the instep) goes around the usual abbreviation for gym to make a word, from Hindi, meaning a type of sun hat worn in India.

22d  Who among the French avoids calm study? (5)
{ETUDE} – start with a noun meaning a state of calmness and remove (avoids) from the start the French word for who. What you should be left with is a short musical composition designed as an exercise in technique (study).

I liked 10a, 13d and 22d, but my favourite clue today is 4d. Let us know what you liked in a comment!

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18 Comments

  1. crypticsue
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this Wednesday Toughie very much. Not the toughest of challenges but with some very good clues. I liked 13a and 13d the best of all. Thanks to Firefly for a very entertaining time and Gazza for the equally entertaining hints.

  2. Jezza
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Firefly for an enjoyable, straightforward puzzle today, and also to Gazza for the notes.
    Fav clues 13a, and 4d.

  3. BigBoab
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Firefly for a smashing crossword, most enjoyable. My favourite clue was 4d. Thanks Gazza for the excellent review.

  4. honestjohn
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable puzzle and (unusually for me) did not have to resort to Chambers once! Among a host of good clues I particularly liked 1a, 13a and 22d.

    Well done Firefly.

  5. Franco
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    12a: “…a vague rumour about an engagement yesterday…?”

    Today’s DT actually dedicates 16 pages to the engagement plus the leader and half of the Letters to the Editor. The headline on the last article (P31) reads “It’s a shame we can’t just leave them alone now”. Think I might join CluedUp!

  6. Franco
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    I found this very difficult and only managed about 3/4 before seeking help from the review – for which many thanks, Gazza!
    Favourite – 13a. By the way, Trigger seems to have galloped off into the distance – the picture is blanked out.

    • gazza
      Posted November 17, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      Franco,
      Thanks for letting me know that Trigger had bolted. I hope that I’ve now recaptured him.

    • pommers
      Posted November 17, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      Hi Franco
      I was about the same although I probably only managed 2/3 on my own!

      • Franco
        Posted November 17, 2010 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

        My mistake….. It was Champion the Wonder Horse that always disappeared into the sunset at the end of each episode.

        One of my childhood favourites.. It ran from 1955 -1956 (Wikipedia) .

  7. Prolixic
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks to Firelfy for a good workout this morning and to Gazza for the review. Favourite clues were 4d and 13d.

  8. pommers
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    I’ve only recently started to attempt Toughies, usually the Tuesday ones, so I was quite pleased to get about 2/3 of this before resorting to Gazza’s excellent hints – thanks Gazza.
    Also thanks to Firefly for an enjoyable puzzle, even if it was a bit beyond me.
    One thing about Toughies is that the comments are a lot fewer than for the cryptics!

  9. brendam
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable! I did moderately well before resorting to the blog. Liked 13a, 13d and 17d Thank you Firefly and Gazza

  10. Posted November 17, 2010 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    I rather enjoyed this and found it better than some recent offerings from Firefly.

  11. Piglet
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    Good fun, and pitched at the right level. Favourite has got to be 13a, which made me chuckle when I got it.

  12. Posted November 17, 2010 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    I would agree with Tilsit – I had to think a bit on this today as opposed to some previous Firefly puzzles. It was all the better for it. 4d was fave for me (followed by 6d)
    Thanks to Firefly and to gazza for the review.

  13. Upthecreek
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Struggled today, as in cryptic, with NE corner. Put it down to watch England get thrashed and then cracked it. Problems were 6d, which is a concocted word, similar to choc yesterday, and 10, which I thought was a far-fetched clue. No more ‘centrals’ of 3 words please. Favs were 4 13a [brilliant] 13d 16 and 22. Overall a pretty good test with some ‘aah’ moments.

  14. Dynamic
    Posted November 18, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Gazza, your comment in italics after 16a is priceless! Really made me smile.

    • gazza
      Posted November 18, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Dynamic,
      Sadly I can only claim credit for remembering it, not inventing it.