Toughie 592

Toughie No 592 by Elkamere

There’s a new kid on the block

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

We have a new compiler today and the Telegraph are so coy about him or her that they haven’t published the name on-line this morning. So, welcome to Elkamere who’s given us a puzzle that pretty much conforms to midweek Toughie standard in terms of difficulty (I found the SW corner the trickiest) with an entertaining mixture of clues.
Let us know how you liked the new setter and please take the time to click on one of the stars below to record your enjoyment.

Across Clues

9a  Saw a hobnob rejected over chocolate centre (5)
{AXIOM} – the definition is saw, in the sense of a saying or proverb. Start with A then reverse (rejected) a verb meaning to associate or hobnob around the central letter of (choc)O(late).

10a  Fringe around a tiny particle with a swelling (9)
{HAEMATOMA} – this is a medical term for a solid swelling of clotted blood. Put the sort of fringe that you may have on a piece of clothing around A, then add the smallest particle of a chemical element and a further A.

11a  A gun’s about right for a soldier (7)
{REGULAR} – reverse (about) A and a type of German automatic pistol and add R(ight).

12a  A chap is unfortunately speechless (7)
{APHASIC} – an anagram (unfortunately) of A CHAP IS produces an adjective meaning being unable to speak due to brain damage.

13a  Plain clothes start to make uniform fit badly (5)
{MUFTI} – the initial letters of M(ake) U(uniform) are followed by an anagram (badly) of FIT.

14a  Recess always has to bend in arc shape (3,6)
{BAY WINDOW} – this is a recess in the (normally) front room of a house to accommodate an outward projection in the wall. Put a 2-letter word meaning always or ever and a verb meaning to turn or bend inside an arc shape.

16a  Air mail delivered in person? (7,8)
{SINGING TELEGRAM} – cryptic definition of a tuneful method of delivering greetings messages. This was popular for a while in the US but (fortunately) never caught on in this country.

19a  Chauffeur transporting private towards the coast? (9)
{DOWNRIVER} – a chauffeur goes round (transporting) an adjective meaning private or personal to make an adverb meaning nearer the estuary or the coast.

21a  Non-Democratic port city (5)
{URBAN} – remove the initial D from a South African seaport to leave an adjective meaning relating to a city.

23a  Fiddler’s inherent bad back (7)
{CORELLI} – the surname of a famous Italian violinist (1653 – 1713) is formed from an adjective meaning inherent or intrinsic and a synonym for bad which has to be reversed (back).

25a  Reserve single bed for Jean? Single mother is host (7)
{MILITIA} – Jean here is not a British woman but a French man. String together I (single), the word Jean would use for his bed and a second I (another single) and put all that inside (hosted by) an affectionate term for mother. The result is a body of civilians, not regular troops but held in reserve and called to arms in a time of emergency.

27a  See 2d

28a  More than one ring road’s charges (5)
{TOLLS} – a cunning lift and separate is required here. It’s a double definition meaning a) more than one ring and b) the charges payable to drive on some roads.

Down Clues

1d  Pretty much without current (4)
{FAIR} – put a synonym for much around (without) the symbol for electric current.

2d/27a  Leader takes flight once in trouble (4,2,3,6)
{KING OF THE CASTLE} – this is an anagram (in trouble) of TAKES FLIGHT ONCE and it’s what the leader of a children’s gang may claim to be, whilst accusing his or her playmate of being a dirty rascal.

3d  I’m sure life in storm is wetter (10)
{EMULSIFIER} – this is an anagram (in storm) of I’M SURE LIFE. I went all round the houses trying to find out what the answer means and as far as I can tell it’s an ingredient used to bind together normally noncombinative substances, such as oil and water. You may have gathered that I’m struggling on this one, because I’ve no idea how this can mean “wetter” (I guess this means something that makes something else wet?) – I’m sure someone will explain it for me.

4d  That lady is enthralled by young baby (6)
{CHERUB} – a feminine pronoun (that lady) is contained within (enthralled by) the young of a fox or wolf, perhaps, to make a metaphor for a baby (what a little angel!).

5d  Maybe get reassembled storage unit (8)
{MEGABYTE} – an anagram (reassembled) of MAYBE GET is a unit of computer storage. When I started in IT many years ago this amount of mainframe RAM would have cost about half a million pounds – now, if you could get it in this small a quantity, you could buy it for loose change.

6d  Wound rabbit heading for hutch (4)
{GASH} – combine a slang verb meaning to talk at length (rabbit) with the first letter of H(utch).

7d  New face in my study? (8)
{CONSIDER} – my, here, is an exclamation of surprise, so we want another, similar, interjection. Inside it put N(ew) and another word for a sloping surface (face) of a mountain, say. This makes a verb meaning to study.

8d  Not wife? Am now! (5,5)
{FANCY WOMAN} – this is a phrase used to describe a married man’s mistress (and so not his wife). If you look at the answer as an anagram indicator followed by fodder you may end up with AM NOW.

13d  School badly needs assistant — I nearly pull in (10)
{MISEDUCATE} – the well-disguised definition is to school badly. Put the sort of assistant that a plumber may have around I and a verb meaning to pull (succeed in attracting a sexual partner) without its final E (nearly).

15d  Bias in English class (10)
{INEQUALITY} – string together IN, E(nglish) and a synonym for (top) class.

17d  Hitler’s goal never could hold promise (3,5)
{NEW ORDER} – Hitler’s goal was die Neuordnung Europas or the restructuring of Europe as a Germanic racial state. Put a poetic word for never around (could hold) the sort of promise that you vow to keep.

18d  Got angry about ego, style, humour (4,2,2)
{GIVE IN TO} – the definition here is humour (as a verb) meaning to comply with. It’s an anagram (angry) of GOT around I (ego) and another word for style or manner.

20d  Sides to employ past Derby County and England manager (6)
{RAMSEY} – the outer letters (sides) of E(mplo)Y go after (past) the nickname of Derby County to make the surname of England’s most successful football manager (not much competition there, you may think!).

22d  It keeps drink cool (6)
{BOTTLE} – what’s used to keep drink in is also a slang term for cool or nerve.

24d  Perhaps corn dodger wants veg out (4)
{LOAF} – double definition. A corn dodger is, apparently, an American term for a small cake or dumpling made of maize and the informal phrasal verb to veg out means to laze about or engage in mindless activity.

26d  Further political sound bites (4)
{ALSO} – hidden (bites) in the clue is a word meaning further.

The clues I liked best today were 9a, 28a and 20d, but my top clue was 13d. Let us know what you liked in a comment.

16 Comments

  1. Posted July 6, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    I thought that this was a very well pitched debut with some pleasing synonyms in the wordplay and some very smooth and amusing surface readings. I always like to see a COR/MY/etc exclamation clues – they have gained popularity amongst setters recently!. Favourites were 8d and 13d among many. Thanks to gazza for the review and thank you and welcome to Elkamere for a fine debut. More like this (again) please!.

    • Posted July 6, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Regarding emulsifier, I think you are on the right lines, gazza, and I share your lack of firm synonym from what I can glean from Chambers and online. I must say that it didn’t hold me up and I wrote this one straight in which is more than can be said for a lot of the rest. I was left with the SE corner myself, with the hidden word at 26d causing me to smack my head – I always miss those!

      • AtH1900
        Posted July 6, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        An emulsifier is a surfactant or form of ‘wetting agent’.

        • gazza
          Posted July 6, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

          Thanks for that.

  2. Franco
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this debut from Elkamere – a lot more accessible to those of us on the fringe of the Toughie than yesterday’s Beam which was just too difficult for me.

    Particularly liked the “bed for Jean” clue. Thanks to Gazza for explaining 8d – I never look in the answer for the anagram indicator – and most probably never will!

  3. andy
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Well i’m glad i wasn’t alone with 3d. Last in 24d (pesky 4 letter words). Favourites among many 8d, 13d and also 23a. Thanks to Gazza and Elkamere for a lovely challenge.

  4. crypticsue
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    The bottom half and particularly the SE corner held me up too – particularly the d’oh-inducing 20d. Thanks to Elkamere for the toughie, which I did find quite tough in places, and to Gazza for the explanations – our ‘new’ setter obviously included a gazza-pic clue just for you..

    • Franco
      Posted July 6, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      20d – If only the FA had chosen correctly – the solution would have been “Clough”.

      • crypticsue
        Posted July 6, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        I spent ages trying to fit in Clough!!

  5. pegasus
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    A most accomplished debut from our new compiler, personally I found this quite tough favourites were 16a 7d and 13d thanks to Elkamere and to Gazza for the fine review.

  6. BigBoab
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Unlike most, I found this more difficult than yesterdays Beamer. I thought it was a great crossword and a true toughie, no real favourites just a general feeling of pleasure on finishing. Thanks to Elkamere ( I hope we see more of you ) and thanks to Gazza for the usual great review. I’m not sure about ‘ emulsifier ‘ either.

  7. Jezza
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    The top half went in considerably quicker than the bottom. Favourite clues 9a, and 8d.
    Thanks to setter, and to Gazza for the review.

    Gazza – in your choice of best clues, there is no 1a.

    • gazza
      Posted July 6, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Jezza. In the words of Captain Mainwaring “I was waiting to see who would be the first to spot that” :D
      I meant 9a.

  8. upthecreek
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Wow, what a debut. Unlike most I was stuck in the NE corner having put in “other’ for 8d. As 10 and 12 did not spring to mind I was in a bit of a deadlock. After much thought I realised 12 must be an anagram and that’s when the penny dropped. Favourite was 8d as it made me laugh but I thought my version was better! That’s 2 great Toughies in a row. Welcome and many thanks to setter for a great contest.

  9. Qix
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    Just got round to this, and what fun it was!

    Excellent debut from Elkamere, I hope to see more of his/her work soon. Some excellent clueing, well done indeed.

    Cheers to Gazza for the blog.

  10. Posted July 7, 2011 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    I got round to solving it late last night. Very polished and accomplished debut. A nice addition to the Toughie canon.