Toughie 496

Toughie No 496 by Giovanni

I’ll never view Tapestries the same way again

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

I really enjoyed this Giovanni Toughie. Let us know how you found it in a comment and please remember to click on one of the stars below to show how much you liked it.

Across Clues

1a  Job of serving girl with super hair in part of mansion? (11)
{WAITRESSING} – what a serving girl does for a living is constructed by putting an abbreviation meaning excellent or super and a long lock of hair inside a section of a large house.

7a  Port offered in pubs in Spanish-speaking areas (7)
{BARRIOS} – a South American port goes inside a synonym for pubs to make the Spanish-speaking quarters of a town or city.

8a  Original artist in deal that falls short (7)
{SEMINAL} – an adjective meaning original or formative is made by putting the surname of a modern British female artist inside a synonym for deal without its final E (falls short).

10a  A blemish on the west side of bad old American city (8)
{AMARILLO} – this is a city in Texas. Put A and a verb meaning to blemish to the left of (on the west side of, in an across clue) a synonym for bad and O(ld). I’m sorry that the clip below won’t play in the blog, but if you’ve never seen this performance by the Royal Dragoon Guards it’s well worth following the link.

11a  University involved in issue very energetically (3-3)
{ALL-OUT} – U(niversity) goes inside a verb meaning to issue or distribute.

13a  What could be money for employees entertaining has-beens (4)
{EXES} – double definition – a) an abbreviation for reimbursements of money spent entertaining clients and b) people who are no longer what they once were (has-beens).

14a  Fanciful tapestries that may be seen in certain clubs (10)
{STRIPTEASE} – an anagram (fanciful) of TAPESTRIES for what may constitute the client entertainment of 13a. It may take me some time to find a suitable picture!

16a  Like a priest’s attire, making a lot scared unfortunately (10)
{SACERDOTAL} – an anagram (unfortunately) of A LOT SCARED produces an adjective meaning related to the priesthood.

18a  A poet among tombs with no yen for place with big mausoleum (4)
{AGRA} – the poet that we want is the author of Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard (i.e. among tombs). A plus the poet’s surname without its final Y (with no Yen) give us the site of the great mausoleum built by the emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife.

21a  Bill at home starts to race and falls over — this may help the bruises (6)
{ARNICA} – stitch together the abbreviation for a bill or invoice, a word meaning at home and the initial letters (starts to) of Race and And, then reverse the whole lot (falls over) to make the name of a plant, a preparation from which is used to treat bruising.

22a  Poison — the thing engulfing company in square (8)
{NICOTINE} – this is a poison present in tobacco leaves. Put a pronoun identifying the thing around (engulfing) the abbreviation for company, then insert all that in the square of three.

24a  Small child in America at edge of lake — an urchin needing water (7)
{ECHINUS} – an abbreviated child, IN and an abbreviation for America all follow the last letter (edge) of lakE to make a sea-urchin.

25a  I must get shelter around start of evening — it’s become frosty (3,4)
{ICE OVER} – a phrasal verb meaning to become frosty is I followed by a synonym for shelter containing (around) the first letter (start) of E(vening).

26a  Grandson you get fussed about, showing male and female characteristics (11)
{ANDROGYNOUS} – an anagram (fussed about) of GRANDSON YOU.

Down Clues

1d  Some distortion in bit of newspaper covering conflicts (7)
{WARPAGE} – double definition – distortion due to the effects of heat or damp is also what the section of a newspaper dealing with armed conflicts might be called (3,4).

2d  One slowing down is an irritation in the pupil’s environment (6)
{IRITIS} – a charade of I, a musical abbreviation meaning slowing down and IS produces inflammation of part of the eye.

3d  Purpose in respect of what a crossword demands (10)
{RESOLUTION} – the definition is purpose or tenacity. Start with a prefix meaning in respect of and add what you hope to arrive at with a crossword.

4d  Window frame made of special wood (4)
{SASH} – S(pecial) followed by a type of wood.

5d  Sacrifice made by one friend crossing Flanders, cut down (8)
{IMMOLATE} – a verb meaning to make a sacrifice is I (one) and a synonym for friend incorporating (crossing) the forename of Daniel Defoe’s heroine, without her final L (cut down).

6d  Travel to party in Holland on a boat (7)
{GONDOLA} – a type of boat is a verb to travel followed by a party inside the IVR code for Holland, all followed by (on, in a down clue) A.

7d  Register opposition when rubbish is collected in Oregon (6,5)
{BEAVER STATE} – we want a phrase meaning register opposition (2,6) which includes (is collected) an informal word for items of little worth (rubbish). What we end up with is how Oregon styles itself, based on the animal which is one of its symbols.

9d  Bookish type to esteem high-class among the junk (11)
{LITTÉRATEUR} – a verb meaning to esteem or value and the letter standing for upper-class go inside junk or rubbish to make a person who is knowledgeable about books.

12d  Possibly it is badly restricting one (10)
{DISABILITY} – an all-in-one-clue. It’s an anagram (possibly) of IT IS BADLY around (restricting) I.

15d  Child entertained by a queen and daughter may be a mite (8)
{ARACHNID} – a mite (small spider) is an example (may be) of this. Put the abbreviation for child inside A and a Hindu queen, then finish with D(aughter).

17d  Woman in yacht at sea (7)
{CYNTHIA} – an anagram (at sea) of IN YACHT gives us a woman’s name (think of Ms. Nixon, one of the stars of Sex and the City).

19d  From what we hear, yesteryear’s England footballer is sorrowful (7)
{GRIEVES} – a verb meaning is sorrowful sounds like (from what we hear) the ace goal poacher of the 1960s. I once saw him play, and score, at White Hart Lane.

20d  Because I give up (6)
{FOREGO} – a verb meaning to give up or do without is a charade of a synonym for because and the latin word for I.

23d  Old Labour no good for the city (4)
{OSLO} – start with O(ld) and add a verb meaning to work hard (labour) without its final G (no Good) to make a European capital city.

I liked 18a, 12d and 23d today, but my favourite clue was 7d. Let us know what you liked in a comment.


  1. crypticsue
    Posted January 19, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Great fun, thank you Giovanni. A proper spelling test. I liked 3d as well as 7d. Thanks to Gazza for the review. Shame the gents get all those ladies and we end up with that footballer!

  2. Jezza
    Posted January 19, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Giovanni for a fun, and not too tough Toughie, and to Gazza for the notes.

  3. gnomethang
    Posted January 19, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this one a lot – thanks Giovanni. Favourite clue was 17d. Thanks to gazza for the review.

  4. honestjohn
    Posted January 19, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Great fun to solve and even the couple of words I didn’t know were easily gettable by following the clues. (I would have finished sooner if I hadn’t been trying to put ‘Chivers’ in at 19d).

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for the review.

  5. pommers
    Posted January 19, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    By the time I’d finished this I realized I had quite enjoyed it!
    Needed a lot of dictionary and Google as a lot of the words were new to me but at least the cluing was fair so they were guessable. (Perhaps Giovanni has been using Chambers for his bedtime reading!)
    Thanks to Giovanni for a fun puzzle and thanks to Gazza for very entertaining blog as usual.

  6. BigBoab
    Posted January 19, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Most enjoyable crossword from Giovanni and great review and picture from Gazza, many thanks to both.

  7. Andy
    Posted January 19, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Echo Pommers comments. Great fun. Thanks to both Giovanni and Gazza

  8. Prolixic
    Posted January 19, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    My brain must be having an off day as I made slow progress through this. Got there in the end but it felt like an slog to the finish line. However, the crossword was highly enjoyable and involved some nice detours into the highways and byways of Chambers. Favourite clue for sheer simplicity was 20d.

    Many thanks to Giovanni for the crossword and to Gazza for the review.

  9. Rednaxela
    Posted January 19, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this, probably due to the fact that I completed it, although I was held up by putting the name of the footballer in 19d, instead of the word for sorrowful – I can never get them the right way round! That held me up on 22a as I was looking for some obscure word for poison. Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza – liked the picture at 14a.

  10. JB
    Posted January 19, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    My favourite was 3d.

  11. Dynamic
    Posted January 19, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Good fun with a few anagrams to get started. (Got to 14a before I had inspiration). Learned plenty. Needed to look up a fair few and got bogged down with a —-ING instead of —-AGE at 1d which messed up the US city and the has-beens (the expression for expenses isn’t very familiar to me). Also needed help to spot the queen in 15d.

    Think it’s coincidence rather than a nina that puts 23d upward in the unchecked column to its left and RAISER and AREA in some of the unchecked across letters. In the newspaper, yesterday’s nina was highlighted pink in the solution, incidentally

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza.

  12. Qix
    Posted January 19, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

    Decent enough crossword, but I really dislike words like 1A. “I’m sick of teachering, maybe I’ll try my hand at jugglering or architecting.” Yuck!

    7D was a very nice clue.

  13. Giovanni
    Posted January 20, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Thanks everyone. When late in the day I see 4 stars diminishing to 3.5 I tend to wonder whether there’s a late persistent voter out there who likes to put me in my place. No matter! And if Qix were to set crosswords for half a lifetime he’d be very glad of WAITRESSING. It’s a perfectly legitimate (and indeed ‘decent enough’) word and it fragments very conveniently. Crossword setters need all the vocab they can get hold of unless they want to use the same boring old words with recycled clues! Till the next time.