Toughie 544 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 544

Toughie No 544 by Petitjean

Oh me, oh my!

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

If you can get the three long anagrams early then this puzzle is not too difficult though I had a few niggles and queries with some of the clues. Let us know what you thought in a comment and please remember to indicate your enjoyment by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

8a  Standard supporter of 10 player (8)
{LAMPPOST} – double definition – a standard can be an upright post and it’s what the 10a player was leaning on in his most famous song.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

9a  Concerned with sexual desire, solicitor expertly reviewed evidence in case (6)
{EROTIC} – this adjective means relating to sexual desire. It’s hidden (evidence in case) and reversed (reviewed) in the clue.

10a  8 leaner got lots more pleasure when he was playing with his wig half off (3)
{UKE} – I’ve got two problems with this clue. Firstly, the clue reads as though the definition should be the singer leaning against 8a, when in fact it’s his instrument that we want – I wonder whether there’s a “this” or similar word missing after “playing” or whether the “his” should really be “this”?. Secondly, I can’t see how “got lots more pleasure” contributes to the clue. To get the abbreviated instrument remove the first half from a word meaning wig. If you can shed any more light on the clue I’d be delighted to hear it. In the meantime here’s a picture which Gnomethang has kindly provided of his own instruments (called Joe and JJ). [Thanks to Qix – see comment #7 – for explaining how the clue is meant to work and coming up with the source of “lots more pleasure”].

11a  Rotten timing combined with delayed start and latish finish in pitch darkness (8)
{MIDNIGHT} – an anagram (rotten) of TIMING with the start of D(elayed) and the finish of (latis)H inside gives the time when it’s likely to be very dark.

12a  Island home that could be remote (6)
{KEYPAD} – a remote is an example (could be) of where you’d find one of these. It’s a charade of a low-lying island, especially in the Caribbean, and an informal word for a home.

13a  Match strength with a nubile state (15)
{MARRIAGEABILITY} – a nubile state indicates that a young woman is mature enough to get wed. This is a charade of a match and a skill or strength.

15a  Cold and sour, lacking Southern openness (7)
{CANDOUR} – string together C(old), AND (s)OUR.

18a  Various broths including cold soup (7)
{BORTSCH} – an anagram (various) of BROTHS has C(old) inserted to make a soup containing beetroot and usually served with sour cream.

21a  Drunk can banish a claim for characteristically riotous behaviour (15)
{BACCHANALIANISM} – this riotous behaviour is characteristic of the Roman god of wine. It’s an anagram (drunk) of CAN BANISH A CLAIM.

24a  No one’s born a criminal — this anomaly’s the result of nurture (6)
{BONSAI} – a lot of care is needed to grow this unnatural miniature plant. It’s an anagram (criminal) of NO I’S (one’s), B(orn) and A. I’m not keen on abbreviations like b(orn) being used in anagram fodder.

25a  Arty type half constricted by convention ultimately (8)
{BOHEMIAN} – this is someone leading an unconventional lifestyle who is often involved in the arts. A prefix, from Greek, meaning half goes inside the constricting coils of a large South American snake, then finish with the last letter (ultimately) of (conventio)N. It’s a bit of a leap from “constricted by” to “insert inside a boa constrictor” but I think it just about works – what do you think?

26a  Sounds like alternative source of power for 8, say (3)
{OAR} – this word sounds like an alternative. For some time I thought the answer was going to be a source of minerals and was trying to justify how this could power 8a. Then the penny dropped – the 8 refers not to 8a but to eight sportsmen or women pulling together.

27a  Communicate with a radio presenter broadcasting around one (6)
{ADJOIN} – a verb meaning to communicate with (like a building next to, and connected with, another) is constructed from A, a radio presenter (on Radio 1, perhaps), then an adverb meaning broadcasting around I (one).

28a  Succinct resignation speech in city following individual lack of justice (8)
{INIQUITY} – a succinct resignation speech (1,4) goes inside the abbreviation for a city and the whole is preceded by I (one, individual).

Down Clues

1d  Spray paint with a sheen (6)
{PATINA} – an anagram (spray) of PAINT is followed by A to make a sheen.

2d  C in Cook? (6)
{OPENER} – we had this batsman (Alistair Cook) who goes in first for the England cricket team fairly recently. His role in the team is also what C is in his surname.

3d  Cliff hit Norway in a nostalgic tour that’s rocking (15)
{CONGRATULATIONS} – a neat bit of lifting and separating is required here. The definition is Cliff hit, i.e. the name of a hit by the 70-year old singer. It’s an anagram (rocking) of A NOSTALGIC TOUR with the IVR code for Norway inside.

4d  Handicap race held in centre of Epsom? True/false (7)
{STUTTER} – a speech impediment (handicap) requires us to put the abbreviation for a well-known motorcycle race inside the central letter of EpSom and an anagram (false) of TRUE.

5d  Wee hiking boot with a fashionable crepe sole rounding off daring outfit (8,7)
{PEEKABOO NIGHTIE} – this is a daring outfit for the bedroom (it would be remiss of me not to provide a visual hint!). Start with a synonym for wee (not in the sense of small!) and follow up with an anagram (fashionable) of HIKING BOOT and A. Finish (rounding off) with the last letter (sole, i.e. bottom in a down clue) of (crep)E.

6d  Multilingual college’s German student’s almost excessive (8)
{POLYGLOT} – an adjective meaning multilingual is formed from a technical college followed by abbreviations for G(erman) and student, then finishing with the first two letters (almost) of a 3-letter abbreviation meaning excessive. I don’t like the truncation of abbreviations in this way – what do you think?

7d  Deputised in charge of teaching (8)
{DIDACTIC} – an adjective meaning teaching is made from a phrase (3,3) meaning deputised followed by the abbreviation for in charge.

14d  See 19d

16d  Slippery character the centre of attraction in an archetypal Essex girl’s Japanese car (8)
{ANACONDA} – this is a gigantic South American snake (slippery character). Put the central two letters of attrACtion inside how an Essex girl (or at least the media representation of one) might refer to a Japanese car (2,’4).

17d  Spread rumour about international crime chief getting overturned judgement (8)
{DECISION} – a verb meaning spread or circulated a rumour goes round I(nternational) and the first letter (chief) of C(rime) and then the lot is reversed (overturned, in a down clue) to make a judgement.

19d/14d  Second aperitif before the middle of brunch and it’s downhill all the way (3,3)
{SKI RUN} – just string together S(econd), an aperitif made from dry white wine and crème de cassis and the middle two letters of brUNch.

20d  Cape has marks in fabric — not fine linen (7)
{CAMBRIC} – this is a lightweight linen. Start with C(ape) then put the abbreviation for marks (the old German currency) inside (f)ABRIC from which F(ine) has been removed.

22d  Aura of major star in the ascendant having secured leads in international movie blockbusters (6)
{NIMBUS} – a halo or aura comes from reversing (in the ascendant, in a down clue) a major star and putting inside it (secured) the initial letters (leads) of the last three words.

23d  Extremely filthy place without lavatory, as 5 is likely to be (6)
{SCANTY} – put a filthy place round the slang word for a lavatory to get a description of 5d.

I liked 16d and I appreciated the anagram in 3d, but my favourite clue today has to be 5d. Tell us what you liked in a comment.

19 comments on “Toughie 544

  1. Yay! My babies!.
    Favourites here are 3d and 18a. I share gazza’s reservations on 10a and 25a, it would be great if petitjean could pop in to confirm the intention. Apart from that I found this tricky but enjoyable. I think I prefer petitjean when he isn’t trying to be too clever and this puzzle possibly just overextended.
    In any case thanks to petitjean and to gazza.

  2. I enjoyed this more as I went through the crossword. Many thanks to Petitjean (who seems to have Gnomethang down to a tee (A 25a 21a 8a player with a liking for 23d 9a 5ds)). 3d to the setter and to Gazza for the review.

  3. No great difficulty in finishing this one but I did need the hints for some of the reasoning (10a and 25a ). I don’t really like anagrams as a rule but I did like 21a and 3d, fav. was of course 5d. Thanks Petitjean and Gazza.

  4. Had the answer for 24a but for the life of me I couldn’t see why until I read the hint. The 15 letters did indeed help in getting started. Quite enjoyed 28a and had similar penny drop moment with 26a. Many thanks Gazza and Petitjean

  5. I did enjoy solving this puzzle this morning. It was tough, entertaining and with several ‘d’oh’ moments, everything you require in a Toughie. I explained 25a to Gnomey in an email exactly as Gazza explains it above – and he wasn’t keen on my explanation either! Thanks to Petitjean and Gazza.

    An easy one yesterday, a nice tough entertaining one today – what will tomorrow bring???

  6. I enjoyed this one to a certain degree but i found some clues a little convoluted my favourite one however was 5d or was i influenced by the picture. Thanks to Petitjean and to Gazza for the excellent review.

  7. Re 10A: I suspect that the wording is as the setter intended; there’s a line in With My Little Ukele in My Hand that’s “But I get lots more pleasure when I’m playing with my uke”.

    I think that the “his” in the clue is intended to refer to the definition: in a non-cryptic puzzle this clue without the last three words could be a complete clue. The clue makes some kind of sense if it’s split that way.

    That was the only clue that I didn’t like. In 24A, I think that one single letter as part of the “anagram fodder” is OK, and doesn’t transgress into indirect anagram territory. 25A is pushing it, but also OK for me.

    1. Brilliant Qix!
      Now if I had attempted to learn that song then I might have spotted it. In that case the clue is rather good and I have been put to shame!

  8. I enjoy both Telegraph Cryptic clues but have found more and more in recent times clues obscurely referencing single letters as part of an amalgam of the cryptic clue, anagram, homophone etc. I find this very lazy on behalf of the setter as it always seems to be used just to add complication and not in a clever way

  9. Thrown by my dictionary’s (OED) spelling of 18a: ***scht as I was convinced that I had 19 and 14d correct. The only alternative spelling it gives is ***sch.
    Still struggling on with it ! Will turn off the computer as it’s too tempting to look at just one more each time. thanks for the hints which i have definitely needed today.

    1. As with many words which are transliterated from languages with a different alphabet this word has various possible spellings. The one you quote from OED is not the way the answer is spelt here.

      1. I had some difficulty with that one, since I would normally use the first spelling that you suggested.

        However, both the SOED and Chambers have the setter’s spelling as an alternative.

  10. Mine is actually called the Oxford Dictionary of English; perhaps I should invest in another version. Really will turn the computer off now !

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