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Toughie 533

Toughie No 533 by Petitjean

A Bit Meaty

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

Afternoon All!. A slight change around to the Toughie reviews. Bufo will be with you tomorrow having swapped with Tilsit who then kindly vacated the chair to let me have a go. There were some lovely clues here and some excellent surface readings as well as some ‘easy hit’ clues to get you started. Thanks to crypticsue for helping me with the wordplay in four clues.

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1a           Polenta for dinner? (6,4)
{COOKED MEAL} – A hot dinner is also descriptive of the Polenta. The second word is synonymous with ground corn or maize.

6a           Burden of our financial responsibility (4)
{ONUS} – A slightly chestnutty definition and cryptic definition for a burden. If split (2,2) it also means ‘our financial responsibility’

9a           Old hat is father’s sombrero — origin Spain (5)
{PASSE} – An adjective meaning ‘old hat’ is a charade of ‘father’s’ with the first letter (origin) of Sombrero and the IVR code for Spain.

10a         Driven men prepared not to worry (5,4)
{NEVER MIND} – An easy starter anagram (prepared) of DRIVEN MEN leads to a phrase meaning ‘not to worry’.

12a         Simple — unlike Charles Saatchi (7)
{ARTLESS} –  The definition is ‘simple’. You need to know that Charles Saatchi spends his money on expensive paintings and sculptures. What would he be if he didn’t have any?

13a         Paintings produced regularly from mid-1700s (5)
{NUDES} – I was flummoxed on the wordplay until crypticsue came to the rescue. If you write out 1700s in full and take every other letter in part of it you will find aparticular artistic study for paintings and sculpture.

15a         White City is large redevelopment (7)
{ALGIERS} – This capital city in North Africa is known as ‘The White City’ and can be found by redeveloping IS LARGE. Another easy starter clue but the surface reading is very good, alluding to the Westfield Shopping Centre development at White City in London.

17a         Discount the odds of bacillaceae being found in Rolls-Royce heads’ vehicle (7)
{RAILCAR} – I found the surface reading to be rather unnatural here; I don’t think that Rolls Royce often check for bacteria in their Cylinder heads!. In any case, remove (discount) the odd letters in bacillaceae and place the result into the first letters (heads) of Rolls Royce to get a type of public transport that runs on tracks.

19a         Motown trio broke up in debt with departure of Jackson brothers’ nucleus (7)
{DETROIT} – The home of Tamla Records and a portmanteau of ‘motor town’. Remove the middle letter (nucleus) of ‘jackson Brothers’ from DEBT and include a broke anagram of TRIO inside.

21a         Vanishing era for wine levy? (7)
{CORKAGE} – The cost/levy for a restaurant to open a bottle of wine. The clue cryptically alluding to the fact that wine bottles now often come with a screw cap instead of the more traditional stopper.

22a         Drain off the pits (5)
{NADIR} – Another starter clue. The ‘pits’ or low point is an anagram of DRAIN – simply indicated by ‘off’

24a         Stir pea soup for slattern (7)
{TRAIPSE} – A soupy anagram of STIR PEA gives a noun meaning slattern. I was not aware of this meaning but if you consider the word ‘slouch’ as a noun and a verb it means the same thing!

27a         George’s pilau too spicy — bin half of it (9)
{AUTOPILOT} – This was a very nice penny drop moment. The affectionate name for who/what flies the plane when all the cabin crew are resting. An anagram (spicy) of PILAU TOO followed by half of the word IT (bin/throw away half) – I’ll let you lot figure out which half!

28a         Closure of ‘Chicago’ the prelude to quiet time for musical drama (5)
{OPERA} – Another pleasant surface reading. Place the last letter (closure) of Chicago in front of (as a prelude to) the musical abbreviation for quiet and then add a long period of time. This gives you a play set to music.

29a         A glimpse of Alderney — otherworldly island (4)
{EYOT} – An unusual word for a small island, particularly used for islands found in the River Thames and its tributaries, is hidden in the clue. ‘A glimpse of’ is the nice indicator.

30a         Priority change limiting decline — almost (10)
{PRECEDENCE} – Another noun for priority or seniority. A copper coin (change) goes around (is limiting) almost all of a synonym for decline or ebb.


1d           Deal with hoodie (4)
{COPE} – A definition plus cryptic definition. The latter, hoodie, referring to an ecclesiastical vestment worn over an alb or surplice.

2d           Attack one left lashing out indiscriminately (9)
{ONSLAUGHT} – removing I = one from an anagram (indiscriminately) of LASHING OUT gives a violent attack or assault.

3d           Stand before court (5)
{ERECT} – Stand here is a transitive verb. A poetic word for ‘before’ in front of the usual abbreviation for court.

4d           Princess bride without social graces (7)
{MANNERS} – The wordplay held me up for a while although the checking letters gave the synonym of ‘social graces’. The new form of address fir a bride (i.e. no longer a Miss) is outside (without) the first name of one of England’s princesses.

5d           Commercial peak for consultant (7)
{ADVISOR} – Another charade and another very good surface reading. The abbreviation for a commercial and a synonym for the peak on a cap or helmet is also someone who you consult and who offers verbal help.

7d           Welshman and Scotsman sharing singular setback with beautiful spirit (5)
{NAIAD} – A lovely construction I think. The beautiful spirit is the Greek nymph of brooks and streams. We need two  common names for a Welshman and a Scotsman. Then reverse them (setback), and merge the two letter I’s (sharing singular) in the middle.

8d           Topiarian trees sited in tranquil spot (4,6)
{SIDE STREET} – I’m not quite so enamoured with either the definition (tranquil spot) or anagram indicator (topiarian?) in this clue. I guess that they were both used to tie in with the anagram fodder. In any case a place that is quieter than a main road is an anagram of TREES SITED.

11d         Slimmer and longer-legged from artificial rearing (7)
{RANGIER} – An artificial anagram of REARING leads to a word meaning lankier.

14d         Enter Gaga with tailored rump pants — that’s an entrance! (6,4)
{GARDEN GATE} – A lovely clue if you remember that Lady Gaga caused quite a stir when turning up to a music award wearing a dress made entirely from meat!. The entrance to your front lawn is comprised of ENTER GAGA and the last letter (rump) of tailoreD. Pants is the anagram indicator.

16d         Beatle got ripped to bits for pretentious solo project (3,4)
{EGO TRIP} – Another excellent surface reading that disguises the hidden phrase. We are looking for ‘bits’ of ‘Beatle got ripped’ that mean a self indulgent piece of work (pretentious solo project).

18d         Clean home gets makeover with one matching wallpaper? (9)
{CHAMELEON} – A lovely definition (one matching wallpaper?) for an animal that can blend in with its surroundings. The anagram (gets makeover) of CLEAN HOME shouldn’t cause too much trouble.

20d         Nominal thank you — cloaking it with outwardly ungrateful resistance (7)
{TITULAR} – A synonym of nominal or ‘in name but with no power’. A short word of thanks goes around (is cloaking) IT and the outward letters in UngratefuL then the abbreviation for Resistance follows.

21d         Detailed conversation on pointless notices all over the place (7)
{CHAOTIC} – First take the last letter (de-tailed i.e. the tail comes off) from an informal conversation. Then remove all the cardinal points of the compass from ‘notices’. The definition is ‘all over the place’ or random.

23d         Similarly over-the-top personality trait in the ascendant (5)
{DITTO} – Start with an abbreviation of ‘over-the-top’ followed by a word for ‘personality trait’ (a division of the psyche in Freudian psychology. Reverse the lot (in the ascendant i.e. going up). You then are left with a word meaning ‘do the same thing’.

25d         Outstanding US author — not 60 — dead (5)
{PROUD} – Outstanding or 3d. Remove the Roman Numerals for 60 from a Pullitzer Prixe winning US author (and journalist) and then add D for Dead

26d         Unsatisfactory 1 across (4)
{LAME} – A good observation to finish. A slang word for ‘unsatisfactory’ or ‘a bit crap’. Having solved 1across, read it such as the first word is an anagram instruction for the second word.

Thanks to Petitjean for a well placed challenge. Favourite for me was 14d for the lovely surface reading that was a complete diversion from the actual answer.

23 comments on “Toughie 533

  1. A very nice Thursday Toughie, thank you Petitjean. Lots of good clues, my particular favourite being 13a. Thanks to Gnomey for the review too. Anyone who thinks they are struggling to solve this one, should start their day receving an email saying ‘can you help me with the wordplay for….’. Leads to temporary freezing of the cryptic brain cells, I can tell you, but luckily I saw through the “ice”!

    1. It could have been worse!. I might have emailed at 4 O clock when I started the blog, or been outside throwing stiones at your window (which admittedly would be a bit difficult not knowing where you live!
      Thanks for your help!

  2. Relatively easy Toughie, IMO.

    Don’t like 1A very much, but it was recued to some extent by 26D. 13A is quite brilliant.

  3. A pleasant enough puzzle, although I thought it was a little heavy on the anagrams.
    Thanks to Petitjean, and to gnomethang for the review. 14d was also my favourite.

  4. Great crossword, great review. Thanks Petitjean and Gnomethang. Personal favourite was 1a.

  5. Not too difficult although, while many of the answers were fairly obvious, it took a bit of thought to work out how they were made up. There were some good clues – I liked 13a and 30a – and some others I thought that were a bit weak. All in all though an enjoyable exercise.

    Thanbks to Petitjean and gnomethgang for the notes.

  6. Only relatively easy if you know what you are doing which I don’t most of the time but enjoyable nonetheless. I wonder if we will ever see Barrie writing an opinion on the Toughie.
    Thanks to Petitjean and Gnomethang for the notes.

  7. I’m with Nubian here – I also don’t know what I’m doing but I enjoyed this puzzle! Got there in the end with only a little help from the Gnome on some of the wordplay. 21a and 21d – guessed both from the checkers but couldn’t see the wordplay! Still, I did have a good lunch today (hic!).
    I’ll be getting big headed soon – that’s a hot-trick of Toughies for me!
    Thanks to Petitjean and Gnomey.

    BTW, Barrie seems to have gone AWOL since some of us had a go at him the other day

      1. Indeed, being a RayT yesterday which we know he doesn’t enjoy explains that day, but the rest of the week?

  8. I had problems wih SE corner after a good start. I struggled with 21 a and 21d also but got there in the end. I was trying to fit TAL into 21d which didn’t help. I have never heard 24 used as a noun so that was interesting. Also, I thought 30 was a bit contrived. Not as enjoyable as I expected. Best for me were 7 13 16 and 27.

    1. I had the same problem with 24a UTC. I knew the word and saw the obvious anagram but passed it over. When the checking letters were still there I thought of ‘slouch’ and realised it was both a noun and a verb that were failry synonymous. Given that, and the fact that I had to solve the puzzle and then blog it I looked it up to (happily) confirm the case. Mine was a ‘quick and dirty’ solve today!

  9. Many thanks to Petitjean for an enjoyable Toughie and to Gnomethang for the review – early bird that he was! Favourite clues were 17a and 24d.

  10. Thank you to Petitjean and tilsit. I enjoyed this.

    Having had a shocker with the back page, I got on much better with this one. Once again, I brilliantly put in a wrong answer – Regalis for 15a. Need to start concentrating a bit harder all round…

    Nice to have time to have a bash at the toughie today…

    1. Oops, sorry. Still mis-reading things…. thank you to Gnomethang. Think I’ll just go to bed…

  11. Re 25d: Who is the US author from whose name you have to remove LX (60 roman numerals) to be left with Prou?

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