Toughie 476

Toughie No 476 by Notabilis

An Enjoyable Outing

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

It seems to me that we get two different levels of Toughie from Notabilis. Those that we see on a Friday tend to be brilliant and fiendish; those that we get earlier in the week (often on a Wednesday – I’m not complaining ) are slightly less difficult but still wonderfully entertaining, just like this one. There are some excellent clues here and not an obscure word in sight (with the possible exception of the rarely-used past tense in 19d).
Please let us know what you think of it in a comment and also take the time to show how much you enjoyed it by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

1a  Since rejection of TV award, skilful act mostly is off balance (10)
{ ASYMMETRIC } – a description of something not evenly balanced is made from a conjunction meaning since or because, a TV award reversed (rejection) and a skilful act (by a magician, say) without its final letter (mostly).

6a  Return a lot of money for part of bus route (4)
{ STOP } – reverse loads of money to get where a bus picks up passengers.

9a  Southern city is inclined to go after wayward owner (3,7)
{ NEW ORLEANS } – this is a southern city in the USA. Put a verb meaning is inclined after an anagram (wayward) of OWNER.

10a  God’s verse internalised by ordinary chap (4)
{ JOVE } – the abbreviated forename used to describe an ordinary chap has V(erse) inserted (internalised) to make an alternative name for the god Jupiter.

13a  Hat almost covers stylish knot (7)
{ BOWLINE } – a type of knot is made from a hat without its final R (almost) around (covers) an informal word meaning stylish or trendy.

15a  Trust’s foremost in a city’s capital cover (6)
{ TURBAN } – the first letter (foremost) of T(rust) precedes an adjective meaning in a city.

16a  Confuse king and bishop in mighty blow (6)
{ GARBLE } – abbreviations for king and bishop go inside a strong wind (mighty blow).

17a  Who wasted seed too much, keeping the woman’s tree spaced out? (2,7,6)
{ ON ANOTHER PLANET } – this is a phrase meaning out of touch with reality (spaced out, which is a nice hint). Start with the Old Testament character who indulged in a bit of family planning by wasting his seed rather than impregnate his brother’s widow, then add an abbreviation meaning too much around (keeping) a feminine possessive adjective and a type of tree.

18a  Bird with alien approach to stomach? (6)
{ GULLET } – a charade of a seabird and Spielberg’s alien produces a passage to the stomach.

20a  Keeps blocking up a tree (6)
{ DAMSON } – this is a type of fruit tree. If you split it as (4,2) it could mean blocks up (a river, say) continually. I’m a bit surprised that there’s no question mark here .

21a  Your old staff restricts current growth-regulating body (7)
{ THYROID } – a gland which regulates growth in the body is made from an old word for your followed by a staff around (restricts) the abbreviation for electric current.

22a  It hurts to make contact after time has passed (4)
{ OUCH } – an exclamation meaning “it hurts!” comes from a verb to make contact without T(ime).

25a  Change the mind of old boy in toilsome clashing (10)
{ LOBOTOMISE } – this is a verb meaning to try to change someone’s personality by making an incision into part of the brain. Put the abbreviation for old boy inside an anagram (clashing) of TOILSOME.

26a  Currency note to protect shilling (4)
{ DOSH } – the first (and eighth) note in tonic sol-fa goes round (to protect) S(hilling).

27a  Miss, concealing weight and tooth length, is not dated at all! (10)
{ NEWFANGLED } – a scornful description of something very modern (not dated at all) is a verb meaning to miss or lack around (concealing) W(eight), an animal’s tooth and L(ength).

Down Clues

1d  One hugged by attending female sympathiser? (4)
{ AUNT } – a way of saying or writing one in certain dialects (normally preceded by an apostrophe when written) goes inside a synonym for attending to make a lady who sympathises with and counsels Worried of Woking and Desperate of Dundee in a newspaper or magazine.

2d  Upcoming part for John Wayne in drag (4)
{ YAWN } – a way of describing something boring (a drag) is hidden (part) and reversed (upcoming) in the clue. Lovely surface!

3d  Brownish marsupial caged by humans (6)
{ MAROON } – this is a brownish-red colour (remember the second colour – we’ll need it later!). Put an abbreviated term for a marsupial inside (caged by) a way of referring to humanity in general.

4d  We’ve still got hats you can eat but … we’re not holding back (3,6,3,3)
{ THE GLOVES ARE OFF } – hats may still be on the menu but other items of clothing are not. This is a phrase meaning stop pulling one’s punches and get serious (not holding back).

5d  The opposite of a trip to see part of a baseball game? (6)
{ INNING } – a turn at batting in baseball might, cryptically, be the opposite of an outing.

7d  Marching band member possibly in mob’s playing in brisk pace (10)
{ TROMBONIST } – a musician, in a marching band perhaps, is an anagram (playing) of IN MOB’S inside the brisk pace of a horse.

8d  Fate of perhaps 3 estimated in hunger (10)
{ PREDESTINE } – put the second colour that we’ve remembered from 3d and the abbreviation for estimated inside a verb to hunger or yearn. The resulting verb means to determine someone’s fate in advance (i.e. how God decides in advance on everything that is to happen, according to some religions). The definition is fate, but in order to match the answer it has to be a verb and I can’t see how that works .

11d  Keep dress short and long on daughter (10)
{ STRONGHOLD } – the definition is a keep or fortress. It’s an anagram (dress) of SHORT and LONG before (on, in a down clue) D(aughter).

12d  Bolts after hair-raising feeling — extended shock? (10)
{ DREADLOCKS } – extended shock is the brilliant definition. Put a verb meaning bolts or secures after a hair-raising feeling (of terror).

13d  Horse unit beginning to try muzzle attachment (7)
{ BAYONET } – a brown horse is followed by a single (unit) and the first letter (beginning) of T(ry) to make a blade that may be fixed to the muzzle of a firearm. They don’t like it up ‘em!

14d  Get shot of Beatle ads with margins cropped (3,4)
{ EAT LEAD } – a colourful, slang term meaning to be shot is what’s left of Beatle ads when you crop the outer letters (margins).

19d  Introduced to valuable collection, husband prospered (6)
{ THROVE } – introduce H(usband) into a valuable collection to make the rarely-seen past tense of a verb to prosper.

20d  Wash hands of Isaiah with blue coating (6)
{ DISOWN } – a verb meaning to deny any connection with (wash hands of) is the abbreviation for the Book of Isaiah with an adjective meaning depressed or blue around (coating) it.

23d  Evil king’s set on slaughter (4)
{ KILL } – put an abbreviation for king in front of (on, in a down clue) an evil.

24d  Jackets of lamé, washed blue (4)
{ LEWD } -  blue appears again, this time meaning obscene rather than depressed. Bring together the letters forming the outsides (jackets) of lamé and washed.

The clues which I particularly enjoyed included 17a, 25a, 1d, 4d and 12d, but my favourite today, for the picture it evoked, is 2d. Let us know what you liked in a comment.

18 Comments

  1. Qix
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable crossword.

    I liked 27A in particular, but there’s plenty to admire in this Toughie (although not so tough).

  2. Posted December 15, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    You know how people hate it when more experienced solvers say ‘that was easy’ – well you should try getting an email from a fellow ACC member saying ‘ that was a doddle this morning’. Well for me most of the Toughie was a doddle but I did struggle with the right hand side and needed the law and hints of the Gnome, for which I thank him. I liked 17a, and like Gazza thought 2d was splendid. Thanks to Notabilis and Gazza.

  3. pommers
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    OK, after those 2 comments I’ll have a go at this over lunch. Back later.

  4. Prolixic
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    I must have been on Notabilis’s wavelength this morning as I rattled through this one enjoying every minute of it. Some brilliant clues including 2d and 17a. Many thanks to Notabilis and to BD for the review.

    • Posted December 15, 2010 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      I’ll take the BD as a compliment :D

  5. Qix
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Re 8D: “Fate” can be used as a verb. Although it’s (almost?) always used in the passive voice, I think that the clue is OK.

    • Posted December 15, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      I agree that the verb must exist to allow “fated” but Chambers has fated just as an adjective and doesn’t have fate as a verb at all.

      • Qix
        Posted December 15, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        On first look, I thought that the solution would have “Y” as the last letter, until I understood the “hunger” reference. That form of the word would have sorted the part of speech issue, but I guess that it would have been harder to clue.

        • Notabilis
          Posted December 18, 2010 at 12:21 am | Permalink

          Thanks for the comments.
          Collins explicitly defines “fate” as a verb, saying “(tr; usually passive) to predetermine; doom”, so I think it’s fair game for a Toughie.

          • Posted December 18, 2010 at 8:08 am | Permalink

            Thanks for the explanation, Notabilis, and many thanks for the highly entertaining puzzle.

  6. Posted December 15, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable puzzle – Hats off to Notabilis (there were a number of hatty references today!).
    Favourites were 2d, 4d and 12d.
    Thanks to Notabilis and gazza for the reiview.

  7. BigBoab
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Notablis for a super puzzle, I loved 17a especially, thanks to Gazza for a fine review.

  8. Digby
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    The latent seed-spreader was a new one to me, which made 17 difficult. Also needed help with 1d. That’s the long & short of it, but a very enjoyable Double 4*, with excellent clueing and solution. Thanks!

  9. honest john
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    I agree – super crossword and many good clues (25a must be the best for me). I struggled to work out 1d for quite a time but found everything else fairly straightforward.

    Many thanks to the setter and for the review.

  10. pommers
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Pommette and I (sounds a bit grand!) managed to finish this off with some help from Gazza. Unlike Prolixic we certainly weren’t on Notabilis’s wavelength this morning. Took several minutes to even work out the answer to 1d even having read the hint. So many thanks to Gazza for helping us solve what was a (mostly!) enjoyable puzzle and to Notabilis for some good clues too! Also like 2d and 22a

  11. Upthecreek
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Not too difficult but a most enjoyable solve. Didn’t like 8d as it does not seem to work. However, the rest were great with 11 25 and 27 the pick of the bunch. Thanks to Notabilis for making a cold morning a bit warmer!

  12. Nubian
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for a testng crossword to Notabilis and Gazza

  13. Franco
    Posted December 15, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    By Jove, Missus!! Yet another pathetic attempt at the Toughie!

    So, many thanks to Gazza for the precise and meticulous explanations in the review. (At least I solved 10a).

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