Toughie 480

Toughie No 480 by Giovanni

Looking On The Bright Side

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from a very cold, white Devon, where it looks as though the snow has decided to stick around until next year, but never mind – we’ve got past the shortest day and it can only get better from now on, can’t it?
We have a middle-of-the-road Toughie from Giovanni today, neither too easy nor too difficult (though I had to consult Chambers quite a lot). Let us know how you fared in a comment, and please take the time to click on one of the stars below to register how much you liked it.

Across Clues

1a  Add white oily solid to jug — put in with other things spun round (10)
{CAMPHORATE} – the definition here is add white oily solid to, so we want a verb meaning to treat with this substance. The jug is a tall Greek or Roman jar with two handles and a narrow neck – reverse (spun) the abbreviation for with other things around it.

6a  Ugly old woman social set cut short (4)
{CROW} – remove the final D (cut short) from a social set.

9a  So there’s poison spread round a particular meat! (7)
{VENISON} – start with SO and around it put a toxic substance to make meat from a deer.

10a  Fast woman never (not ever!) going after randy man (7)
{RAMADAN} – this is the ninth month of the Muslim year, during which believers abstain from various things, including food and drink from dawn until sunset every day. Start with a slang term for a randy man and add a woman’s name (think of Ms. Lovelace who collaborated with Charles Babbage on his mechanical computer and is credited with being the world’s first computer programmer) and N(ever).

12a  What seems like a small area for a ball? (6,7)
{GLOBAL VILLAGE} – cryptic definition of a world shrunk by modern communications, with everyone connected to everyone else. I suppose that you can think of the world as a ball, but this doesn’t work terribly well for me.

14a  Arrangements that may come after American employee’s salary review, we hear (6)
{ARRAYS} – these arrangements (of figures, for example, in rows and columns) are a sound-alike (we hear) of what an American employee may receive in the way of a salary adjustment in an upward direction (we tend to use a similar word, but without an A).

15a  Native in great poverty getting caught out (8)
{INDIGENE} – remove C (caught out) from a word meaning great poverty to leave a native.

17a  Plan to modify car noise (8)
{SCENARIO} – an anagram (to modify) of CAR NOISE.

19a  King is satisfied with what fate has dealt (6)
{KISMET} – a word, from Arabic, meaning what you’ve been apportioned in life (what fate has dealt) is a charade of K(ing), IS and a verb meaning satisfied.

22a  Seated to drink pint initially, this person’s time for a double (8,5)
{SPITTING IMAGE} – this is a double in the sense of an exact likeness or a dead ringer. Put a synonym for seated around (to drink) the first letter (initially) of P(int). Then follow this with the contraction of this person’s when “this person” is the speaker and finish with another word for time.

24a  Team of flyers sounded triumphant, on song (7)
{AIRCREW} – a verb meaning sounded triumphant goes after a song.

25a  The aforementioned pig knocked over plant (7)
{THISTLE} – a pronoun used as shorthand for something previously mentioned is followed by a young sow reversed (knocked over) to make a prickly plant.

26a  Adult in drama who survived when many perished (4)
{NOAH} – put A(dult) inside a traditional Japanese masked drama to make the Old Testament shipbuilder.

27a  Encouraging trust in dear client when things go wrong (10)
{CREDENTIAL} – an anagram (when things go wrong) of DEAR CLIENT is a description of something meant to inspire trust.

Down Clues

1d  Get some wine with a holiday coming up (4)
{CAVA} – reverse (coming up, in a down clue) A and an abbreviated holiday to make a Spanish sparkling wine.

2d  Eat in Paris, entertaining a middle-ranking industrialist? (7)
{MANAGER} – the French (in Paris) verb to eat goes round (entertaining) A to make someone who exercises control in an organisation. Middle-ranking industrialist defines this by example, hence the question mark.

3d  Short term? I say — that would excite one of the members of staff! (7,6)
{HISTORY MASTER} – one of the members of staff in a school is an anagram (that would excite) of SHORT TERM I SAY.

4d  Letting children talk puts quite a few off (6)
{RENTAL} – this word means letting and you’ll find it in the clue when you take off quite a few redundant letters from around it.

5d  Half the competitors with an obsession about doing well (8)
{THRIVING} – start with the first three letters of a word meaning competitors or opponents and put an informal word for an obsession around (about) to make a present participle meaning doing well.

7d  Beam help to the north — speed around (7)
{RADIATE} – Beam here is not Ray T’s alter ego but a verb. Reverse (to the north, in a down clue) a synonym for help and put another word for speed around it.

8d  Fabric gets to shrink, though, over time, ending in garbage (10)
{WINCEYETTE} – this lightweight fabric which is often used for night clothes is formed from a verb to make a shrinking movement and a synonym for though followed by (over, in a down clue) T(ime) and the last letter (ending) of (garbag)E.

11d  Male conviviality Jack has abandoned, calming down (13)
{MOLLIFICATION} – start with M(ale) and add a word meaning conviviality from which the initial J(ack) has been removed.

13d  Promotes the second man and causes trouble (6,4)
{RAISES CAIN} – the second man was Adam’s first son.

16d  Victor embraces old women — one of those people with fans? (8)
{WINNOWER} – someone who blows a current of air through grain in order to remove the chaff is a synonym for victor around (embraces) O(ld) and W(omen).

18d  A monarch to lose strength after revolution in the country (7)
{ERITREA} – a nice bit of misdirection here because the first two letters of this African country might have been the monarch. In fact the whole thing is a reversal (after revolution), and what has to be reversed is A, our Queen and a verb to lose strength.

20d  Great artists giving a new look to Artemis (7)
{MAESTRI} – an anagram (new look to) of ARTEMIS.

21d  What David must have been against Goliath without a stone! (6)
{PITTED} – double definition.

23d  Unliked Oxford academic of great ferocity (4)
{FELL} – The surname of the Oxford academic who inspired a nursery rhyme is also an adjective meaning fierce or ruthless.

I do not like thee, Doctor ****,
The reason why I cannot tell;
But this I know, and know full well,
I do not like thee, Doctor ****.

I liked 10a, 18d and 23d today. Let us know what you liked in a comment!

24 Comments

  1. Posted December 22, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    well 23d tripped me up (did you see what I did there!?). I didnt know the Don nor the nursery rhyme nor did I really appreciate the second definition although the phrase with the swoop in it should have pointed me in the right direction.
    Besides that some fun clues and a more enjoyable Giovanni Toughie than a couple of the recent ones. Thanks to him and to gazza.

  2. crypticsue
    Posted December 22, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    This was a Toughie of two halves – I got on fine with the left hand side and had a proper struggle with the right hand side, not particularly helped by a Gnome telling me he was struggling like me, then nearly there and then finished. I have just finished, without resorting to the hints, although it was a very near thing. I had heard of the man in 23d. Thanks to Giovanni for a proper Toughie – BD did say yesterday that things would get harder as the week went on – thanks to Gazza too. Happy Christmas to both.

  3. BigBoab
    Posted December 22, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    I struggled with 8d for a while as I had put a t at the end of 15a instead of an e ( thanks Gazza), other than that I thoroughly enjoyed this crossword. Thanks Giovanni and Gazza and a merry Christmas to you and yours. Favourite clues were 10a and 23d.

  4. Prolixic
    Posted December 22, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Two or three clues slowed me down and had to be resolved at the desk. Last in was 23d where the checking letters and a half remembered bit of verse about the eponymous doctor got me to a tentative answer.

    Favourite clues were 10a and 4d.

    Many thanks to Giovanni for all the entertainment this year – happy Christmas to him and thanks to Gazza for the review.

  5. Giovanni
    Posted December 22, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, bloggers. Friday’s puzzle is not mine, but I have an extra one in next week, so you can have fun guessing which one it is. In the meantime, Happy Christmas to all.

    • gnomethang
      Posted December 22, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Happy Christmas and thanks for all your puzzles, Giovanni.

  6. Barbara
    Posted December 22, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    25. thistle
    Despite the explanation in the blog, I don’t understand the wordplay. Where is the young sow, and what is the abbreviation for previously mentioned?
    Barbara

    • gazza
      Posted December 22, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      Barbara,
      The pronoun used for something mentioned before is THIS, Add ELT (young sow) reversed to get the answer.

    • maagran
      Posted December 22, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      aforementioned=This
      Young sow = Elt (if you find the right dictionary)

      • Dynamic
        Posted December 23, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        Phew that was some tough vocabulary. Found three words for a young sow. Started with GILT thanks to my PinC who knew of it, but I’d already thought of the correct answer so looked up ELT and found it’s also called a GILT or a YELT. We certainly took a while, but enjoyed it and learned a few things. Had never heard of Dr. 23d, but I guess that’s what Toughies are about.

  7. Warbler
    Posted December 22, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    A very Merry Christmas to all your regulars who, throughout the year ,have sent in well-considered comments.
    These are very helpful to this setter in particular!

    • gnomethang
      Posted December 22, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      ..and a Merry Christmas to you and yours, Warbler. Thanks for all your puzzles throughout the year.

  8. pommers
    Posted December 22, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    I love Giovanni’s Friday xwords but I’m afraid this was a bit beyond me! Managed 13 clues without the hints which is a bit of a dissappointment after yesterday’s first solve of a Toughie completely without help!
    Never mind, I’ll get there one day if I live long enough (think I might have to make 105 at this rate!). I did find it all enjoyable, albeit impossible in places!
    Thanks Giovanni and a Happy Xmas to you.
    Thanks Gazza for the blog which was much needed today!

  9. Digby
    Posted December 22, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    A worthy challenge, thank you Don G. Unless Gazz and I have both missed some subtlety I can’t make a lot of sense of 12a either. But more that made up by a wealth of cunning clues, though I too tripped up on 23 down

  10. Nestor
    Posted December 22, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    A tough one today! 8d had me stumped until I found it by decoding the indication and checking if the word means something ;-) I keep seeing this ELT for piglet but I haven’t seen the word in a dictionary.
    A few comments on Gazza’s great post:
    12a: Globe = ball
    14a: A=American, RRAYS homophone for raise. I don’t think araise is an American word…
    23d: Fell: one of those moments that this non-native speaker of English learns two things at the same time: a new nursery rhyme and the etymology of “fellon”. Thanks, Giovanni!

    My favourite today:
    3d: Superb surface reading

    • Posted December 22, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Nestor

    • gazza
      Posted December 22, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Nestor,
      12a I had realised that globe is a ball (and ball is also a formal dance which you wouldn’t normally see in a village) but even so I don’t like it very much.
      14a I think that the homophone is meant to be of “A RAISE” because what you may get after a review is A RAISE (if you’re American). If you take the A from American then the clue doesn’t make that much sense because “raise” is an American usage for what we would call a rise.

      ELT is in Chambers.

      • Nestor
        Posted December 22, 2010 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

        See, there you have it again! There I was, thinking that “raise” is British English… This results from working in an American company. Thanks for putting me right there. Period, err. full stop.

      • Dynamic
        Posted December 23, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

        Re 12a, I guess a village (small place) in the shape of a globe (ball) while quite bizarre could also be a global village, but this is probably stretching it. To be frank, in the course of solving, I had a few checking letters, got the answer smiled and moved on without considering it. I like to understand the wordplay so for me this was a bit unusual, but probably more typical of the majority of solvers who don’t worry too much once they’ve got it and they’re sure. Of course it’s different when blogging a puzzle where you have to dissect and explain the wordplay and perhaps comment on it.

        Anyhow, many thanks to the Don and Gazza, and to all the setters and bloggers who’ve shared such fun over the past year, and particularly those who’ve popped in to comment on these blogs.

    • pommers
      Posted December 22, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      Elt is one of the few obscure bits of this puzzle that I actually knew! My best friend (now sadly passed away) was a pig farmer from Yorkshire, where I believe the term originated.

      • pommers
        Posted December 22, 2010 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        An alternative for a young sow which has not yet farrowed is ‘gilt’ so store that one away in the recesses of the brain! You never know!

      • gnomethang
        Posted December 22, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        Elt was unknown to me. I have learnt TEG and TUP for sheep. This is another excellent word to commit to memory.
        **Sorry Corrected ELF to ELT as my spell checker on the phone decided it knew better!**

  11. honestjohn
    Posted December 22, 2010 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    For some reason I found 21d difficult and, although I got 25a, I couldn’t see why. Now I know what an elt is all becomes clear. I learnt a couple of new words, 1a and15a, and the name of the poison in 9a (although I did get the right answer to the clue notwithstanding).

    This definitely lived up to the ‘toughie’ description and was very enjoyable. Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for his helpful explanations.

  12. Upthecreek
    Posted December 22, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Drat and double drat. I had to admit defeat today, the first time for weeks. Problem was 8d which I had never heard of and could not work out from the wordplay. I think yet for though is a bit dodgy. Fav was 21 and liked all but 8d. Grrrrrrr.