Toughie 539 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 539

Toughie No 539 by Giovanni

What do you want?

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

A very enjoyable puzzle from Giovanni today. I liked the sixties reference, even though it eluded me at first.

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9a    A particular organ’s characteristic — loud initially (5)
{AURAL} – an adjective meaning of a particular organ, in this case the ear, is built from a distinctive characteristic followed by the initial letter of Loud

10a    Spooner’s endowment thus provides the bread (9)
{SOURDOUGH} – what the Reverend William Archibald Spooner might have said instead of dower so (endowment thus), although I can’t imagine why he would want to, gives bread made from material left over from a previous baking

11a    Virtuous — that’s old saint in attitude (7)
{POSTURE} – put a word meaning virtuous around (in) O(ld) ST (saint) to get an attitude

12a    Faith shown by worker in firm (7)
{ADAMANT} – the required capitalisation of Faith is cleverly hidden by placing it at the beginning of the clue – take the first name of a sixties pop star and add a worker insect to get a word meaning firm or determined

ARVE Error: need id and provider

13a    Make entreaty quietly to gain initiative (5)
{PLEAD} – a verb meaning to make an entreaty is a charade of the musical abbreviation for quietly and a verb meaning to gain the initiative

14a    Jersey’s place for growing up in? (5,4)
{DAIRY FARM} – a cryptic definition of where Jersey cows may be bred

16a    Player in support hugging fellows belonging to famous group (15)
{INSTRUMENTALIST} – this player in an orchestra is constructed from IN, a support or prop placed around some fellows and finally a group of self-styled celebrities (1-4)

19a    Reliable female gets a good person after dodgy dates (9)
{STEADFAST} – an adjective meaning reliable is built from F(emale), A and a good person coming after an anagram (dodgy) of DATES

21a    Country drink knocked back by monarch (5)
{NIGER} – this West African country is created by reversing (knocked back) an alcoholic drink and adding our monarch’s cipher

23a    Before publication script must be sort wanted by group (7)
{TYPESET}- lift and separate the definition “before publication script must be” and what remains, after ditching the padding, is a charade of a sort and a group

25a    Managed, with bag, to obtain loot (7)
{RANSACK} – an unoriginal charade of a verb meaning managed or administered and a bag made of coarse fabric gives a verb meaning to loot or plunder

27a    Amusing or silly person unlikely to win quiz? (9)
{IGNORAMUS} – an anagram (silly) of AMUSING OR gives a person who is unlikely to win a quiz

28a    Fatty stuff I had — fleshy part at the front (5)
{LIPID} – any of a group of chemicals found in bodily tissues, including fats, oils and waxes, is derived from the abbreviation of “I had” preceded by either of the two fleshy parts which form the upper and lower edges of the opening of the mouth


1d           Instrument’s note beginning to fade away (4)
{HARP} – this musical instrument, played by plucking strings, is created by dropping the first letter (beginning to fade away) from a note that has been raised by a semitone

2d           Fish seen in German water when river’s risen (6)
{WRASSE} – to get this brightly-coloured bony fish start with the German word for water and move the final R (River’s risen) up to second position

3d           Woman briefly working for Labour leader struggled (10)
{FLOUNDERED} – a charade of a shortened woman’s name (3) and a phrase that could mean working for the current leader of the Labour party (5,2) gives a verb meaning struggled

4d           Dances organised in tower (6)
{ASCEND} – an anagram (organised) of DANCES gives a verb meaning to tower or rise

5d           It’s boring, not half, helping for a time (8)
{DURATION} – drop the second half (not half) of a four-letter word meaning boring and then add a helping to get a period of time

6d           Notion that’s less than perfect (4)
{IDEA} – one day we will get a new clue for this one! – to get a notion drop the final L from a word meaning perfect

7d           Language you get from one sailor with a vessel capsizing (8)
{GUJARATI} – this Indic language is derive by reversing (capsizing) a charade of I (one), a sailor (3), A and a vessel used for holding and pouring liquids (3)

8d           Saint, passionate old male within — one senses the brightness (10)
{PHOTOMETER} – take the name of the saint who was the first bishop of the Church at Rome and insert a word meaning passionate, O(ld) and M(ale) to get an instrument used to sense the brightness or intensity of light

13d         Plant in collection in container covering one small area (10)
{POINSETTIA} – this plant seems to be a particular favourite of a number of setters, probably because no other word fits the checking letters! – put IN and a collection inside a container and then add I (one) and A (small Area)

15d         Feeling great desire to be making pounds from one year to the next (10)
{YEARNINGLY} – an adverb meaning feeling a great desire is created by putting a verb meaning making money and the abbreviation for pounds sterling between Y(ear) and Y(ear)

17d         Wall-to-wall task for cleaner (8)
{SWEEPING} – a double definition – an adjective meaning  wall-to-wall or all-embracing and a task for the cleaner

18d         One for lunch maybe? (8)
{MEALTIME} – one o’clock, when lunch is often taken, is a definition-by-example

20d         Force hospital into health organisation? (6)
{THRUST} – this propulsive force is created by putting H(ospital) inside a health organisation which is usually preceded by NHS

22d         Gets hold of files after end of meeting (6)
{GRASPS} – a verb meaning gets hold of is created by putting some files used in carpentry after G (end of meetinG)

24d         Half the riches lost? That’s certain (4)
{SURE} – drop the first half (half … lost) of a word meaning riches to get a word meaning certain

26d         Youngsters? Fools! (4)
{KIDS} – a double definition – a noun meaning youngsters and a verb meaning fools

For me this was the best Giovanni Toughie for a while, in spite of the inclusion of a couple of hoary old chestnuts!

25 comments on “Toughie 539

  1. Maybe I am just grumpy due to the impending dentist appointment but I found this hard goine, the NW corner in particular, with out any real reward or enjoyment.
    Probably my fault since I completely missed the sixties reference.
    Thanks to BD and to Giovanni.

  2. I enjoyed this one from the Maestro, I found it difficult but fair. Loved 12a. Thanks Giovanni and BD.

  3. I didn’t think it was particularly tricky, although I agree that the NW corner was tricky.

    Seemed like quite a well-balanced puzzle to me, although I wasn’t keen on the Spoonerism at 10A.

    Thanks to Giovanni and BD.

  4. I thought that this was the best Giovanni Toughie we’ve had for some time with some cracking clues (my favourites were 12a, 7d and 18d). Thanks to him and BD.

  5. I too found this more difficult than the usual Tuesday offering. I enjoyed the tussle though. Hoping that, if the promised fine weather materialises, the rest of the week’s Toughies don’t turn out to be progressively harder – especially if it’s Elgar on Friday!

  6. Found this difficult but enjoyable, thanks to BD for the hints (not used) waiting for the explanation of 2d, and Giovanni and particularly Sue for suggesting starting at the bottom, good advice much appreciated

  7. Very good crossword. After a slowish start everything began to fall into place with 3d and 9a being the last in. Not too tricky nor too easy. Many thanks to Giovanni for the crossword and to BD for the review.

    Favourite clues included 3d, 12a and 2d.

    1. Thanks Andy

      The clues are cut and pasted – I then occassionally forget to hold the Ctrl key down while dragging and dropping into the hint!

  8. I thought this was tricky – was I influenced by an email from Gnomey before I started saying that it was??? As I said earlier, the bottom half went in quicker than the top and the NW corner was a fight. Thanks to Giovanni for the crossword and BD for the review.

  9. Nice pleasant start to the week favourites 12a and 16a thanks to Giovanni and to Big Dave.

  10. Excuse me for not getting a clear view of the blindingly obvious, but I don’t really see enough in this to conclude a 60s theme. Anyway, I await enlightenment, and meanwhile offer my appreciation to The Don & BD.

      1. Roger that. He lived – and died – just down the road from us here in Heavenly Henfield, where he was a very popular member of our community.

  11. Nice one from Giovanni – more please.
    Tricky in parts but I finished it without hints or other aids which is unusual for me on a Toughie! Took ages to work out why 2d is what it is – a real D’oh moment!
    Very enjoyable so thanks to Giovanni and BD.

  12. Am very much an 27a today, I got the answer but completely failed to spot the anagram. The shame ,the shame. Agree with CS starting at the bottom made it easier, and am with most in saying NW the last in. Liked 3d 12a and 11a now i see the construct. Thanks to Giovanni and BD

  13. I found this a bit of a struggle today. Unlike most I could not get my head round the NE corner. Spooner, Faith and Jersey had me in a bit of trouble, also 7d which I should have known but didn’t get until I had all the checks. Favourite was 18 for the surface reading but was not happy with 12. Never did rate Mr Faith or Mr Ant for that matter. Still, it amused me all evening.

  14. Hello BD. Haven’t blogged for a while as I was finishing DT 26487. Just kidding – it was 488.. But we enjoyed this Toughie and did it all but 2 this morning. That’s a first. Fav clue 2d – at last I have use for my German O’level. Wunderbar und glucklicherweise.

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