Toughie 588

Toughie No 588 by Shamus

Shamus II (He’s back and this time he’s serious!)

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

For the second day in a row I’ve got a Shamus puzzle to review. I was convinced that this was going to be a pangram after getting 10a and 12a – it isn’t but it does have some really good clues and I enjoyed it.
Let us know what you liked or disliked in a comment, and please take the time to grade it for enjoyment by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

1a  Framed feature remains with some players in broadcast (4,6)
{SASH WINDOW} – this is a framed feature of, mainly, older houses. Put what remains after a fire and a section of an orchestra (some players) inside a verb to broadcast or distribute.

6a  Games maker backed for a long period (4)
{AGES} – reverse (backed) the name of a Japanese video game company to make a long period.

10a  Powerful figure on board and group (5)
{QUEEN} – double definition.

11a  Sally in female preserve joined by dry company, revolutionary feminist (9)
{WITTICISM} – the definition here is sally, in the sense of a humorous remark or retort. Start with the initials of a ladies-only organisation (I love “preserve” with its suggestion of home-made jam) followed by the abbreviation for dry or non-alcoholic and a British company which is not as big as it used to be. Finish up with a reversal (revolutionary) of the mode of address favoured by feminists.

12a  Final character in middle of week taken with German port is prophetic sort (7)
{EZEKIEL} – insert the last letter of the alphabet inside the middle two characters of wEEk and add a port in North Germany to make an Old Testament prophet.

13a  Mess created by young jailbird? (7)
{CANTEEN} – the definition is mess, a place where food is served. When split as (3,4) it’s a cryptic definition of an adolescent in a (mainly North American) slang term for jail.

14a  Representation of a lad’s dogs infused with sentimentality and full of virtue? (2,4,2,4)
{AS GOOD AS GOLD} – this phrase meaning full of virtue or very well behaved is an anagram (representation) of A LAD’S DOGS with a word meaning excessive sentimentality inserted (infused with).

18a  Losing power, past militant unionist assessed money as source of inflation? (9,3)
{SATURATED FAT} – if you eat a lot of this it may result in inflation (round the hips, perhaps). Start with an anagram (militant) of (p)AST without P(ower) and follow this with U(nionist), a verb meaning assessed and a slang word for money.

21a  A large number snubbed course (7)
{REGIMEN} – snubbed here means truncated, so truncate a synonym for a large number to leave a prescribed course of treatment.

23a  Old kingdom with island flanked by fortification (7)
{CASTILE} – as every schoolboy knows it was the marriage of Ferdinand of Aragon to Isabella of this old kingdom in 1469 which laid the foundations for the unification of Spain. Put I(sland) inside (flanked by) a fortified building.

24a  What’s close to nuptials and characterised by intoxication around rowdy gang with no end of larking? (4,5)
{STAG NIGHT} – this is a lovely semi-all-in-one. An opportunity for high jinks starts with the last letter of (nuptial)S. This is followed by an adjective meaning drunk (characterised by intoxication) around an anagram (rowdy) of GAN(g) without the last letter of (larkin)G.

25a  Punt taken by titled woman leaving party (5)
{WAGER} – drop the usual Crosswordland party from a titled widow to leave a punt.

26a  Appeal retained by hero at home (4)
{OATH} – this solemn appeal to a higher being is hidden (retained) in the clue.

27a  Lazy figure beginning to spoil element around revolutionary European gimmick (10)
{SLEEPYHEAD} – the definition is lazy figure. The first letter of S(poil) is followed by a heavy metallic element which contains a reversal (revolutionary) of E(uropean) and an overblown gimmick or publicity stunt.

Down Clues

1d  What follows endless crush in the Home Counties? (6)
{SEQUEL} – something that follows (especially from Hollywood if the first one does well, or a Wednesday Toughie after a Tuesday Cryptic from the same compiler) is formed from the region of the country that includes the Home Counties preceding a verb to crush (a rebellion, say) without its final L (endless).

2d  Stick last of junk in dirty place (6)
{SKEWER} – put the last letter of (jun)K inside a dirty, but very necessary, place.

3d  Land associated with big noise and singular pack, say, in races, one of a trio? (4,10)
{WIND INSTRUMENT} – a musical trio will typically include one of these. Start with a verb meaning to land or capture (a contract, for example), then add a loud noise and S(ingular). Now (after a pause to take a breath) continue by inserting how you might (very loosely) describe a pack of forwards, for example, in the fifteen-a-side game (2,3) inside the annual Isle of Man races. Phew!

4d  Slimy creature hugging slope unexpectedly — it holds up flight? (5,4)
{NEWEL POST} – put one of the slimy creatures liked by the previous Mayor of London around an anagram (unexpectedly) of SLOPE to make the central column around which a circular staircase winds.

5d  Timeless characteristic of Glyndebourne’s output having vision? (5)
{OPTIC} – take an adjective describing the sort of music characteristic of Glyndebourne and remove a 3-letter word meaning a distinct period of time (timeless). What remains is an adjective relating to vision.

7d  By the sound it, chap had briefly to follow aid for mobility (5,3)
{GUIDE DOG} – we want a sound-alike of guy’d (chap had briefly) followed by a verb to follow.

8d  Second artist due for reassessment – or part of artist’s output? (4-4)
{SEMI-NUDE} – string together S(econd), the surname of a current female British artist and an anagram (reassessment) of DUE. This gives me a bit more scope for a picture than Friar Tuck did yesterday!


9d  Tourist site was cutesy again after renovation (6,8)
{GIANT’S CAUSEWAY} – a tourist site in County Antrim is an anagram (after renovation) of WAS CUTESY AGAIN.

15d  Dutch journalist fronting gallery with support is subject of inscription (9)
{DEDICATEE} – if “gallery” appears in a clue and Tate doesn’t fit then there’s a good chance it’s this other one situated on The Mall in London. Put it after D(utch) and the usual senior journalist and in front of a support for a ball to make an awkward word for someone to whom a tribute has been paid (possibly in an inscription at the front of a book).

16d  Coffee with Sunday papers taken in short time (8)
{ESPRESSO} – put S(unday) and a generic term for newspapers inside (taken in) a word for a long time without its final N (short).

17d  Foul bread with label on top found in road (8)
{STAGNANT} – some Indian bread is preceded by (on top, in a down clue) a label and all this is inserted (found) in one of the abbreviations for road to make an adjective meaning foul.

19d  Record in which Jack replaces son providing catchy number (6)
{JINGLE} – a word for a record with just one tune, common in the days before albums took over, has its S(on) replaced by J(ack) to make a catchy number beloved by commercial radio stations.

20d  Boil is sore after view (3,3)
{SEE RED} – boil here is a verb meaning to get very angry.

22d  Where one would find 9 with cake for man (5)
{NIGEL} – the part of the UK where 9d is situated is followed by a jelly-like covering (cake) to make a man’s name. Think of the actor who played Sir Humphrey.

I liked 11a, 13a and 5d today, but my favourite was 24a. Let us know what you liked in a comment.

14 Comments

  1. Posted June 29, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    It took me until 5 clues to go before I considered the possibility of a pangram!. I took a very long time to get going but came in OK at the end 24a definitely a favourite but 9d was very good as well. Thanks to gazza and Prolixic.

    • Prolixic
      Posted June 29, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      Very kind of you but I think Shamus might be a bit put out!

      • Posted June 29, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        Yoinks! – WHat happened there?! – Thanks to Shamus and sozz!!

  2. Qix
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Nice puzzle, and great fun, alhough I thought that Ray T had sneaked in and set 10a.

    Thanks to Shamus and Gazza.

    • Qix
      Posted June 29, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      I keep dropping Ts from words today. ^although^

  3. crypticsue
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Like Gnomey, I had a slow start but overall didn’t take that long, I was just glad that I didn’t have to provide the explanations, especially for 3d – well done Gazza. Thanks Shamus for the very nice Wednesday Toughie too. I liked 13a and 5d.

    • Posted June 29, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      I have just clocked the explanation to 3d – Phew indeed. Luckily I got it from the definition and checking letters and mercifully the wordplay got blanked out of my mind!

  4. Prolixic
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks to Shamus for a corker of a crossword and to Gazza for the review.

  5. pegasus
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Cracking puzzle today from Shamus favourites for me were 8d 18a 24a but the standout for me was 13a, thanks to Shamus and to Gazza for the review.

  6. Jezza
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    I found this one hell of a workout, and great fun too!
    Many thanks to Shamus for brightening up a dull day in the office, and to Gazza for the usual top quality dissection.

  7. andy
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Now why couldn’t I see 1d without the hints, so blatantly obvious, d’oh. That would have helped with 10a. Favourites 13 18 and 24a but also liked the two 14 letter down clues for providing some much needed checking letters to get me (eventually) started. Many thanks to Shamus and Gazza

  8. upthecreek
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    This was more like it. A puzzle that engaged what’s left of the brain cells. Trouble was i was convinced 24 was ‘skin tight’ and that put an hour on the solve. I was also looking for an X which didn’t help. Favourite was 13 but also enjoyed 1a 1d 3 11 and 18. 27 was used recently so that helped. Didn’t like 6 as never heard of Sega and also 22 as I have an aversion to christian names in crosswords – not the done thing! And so to bed.

  9. Heno
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    Too difficult for me, only got 8 clues.thanks to Shamus and Gazza.I got some more with the hints, but it’s beyond me.

  10. Lostboy
    Posted June 30, 2011 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Rats, i couldn’t finish this- did about a third.
    What annoys me is that lots of clues I didn’t get weren’t that hard.

    Good puzzle.
    I must try harder.