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Toughie 595

Toughie No 595 by Giovanni

The Grumpy Old Man is back again!

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BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment *

My problem with Giovanni’s puzzles is that you never know which Giovanni is going to turn up. I found this one to be a boring slog and I didn’t enjoy it at all.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a    Combative sport in a ring enthralling one child (6)
{AIKIDO} – this Japanese martial art is constructed from A and O (ring) around I (one) and a child

4a    Party leader and upper-class member of cabinet likely to benefit from Eton, say? (8)
{EDUCABLE} – a charade of the first name of the current (but for how long?) leader of the Labour party, the one-letter substitute for Upper-class and the surname of the Business Secretary gives an adjective meaning likely to benefit from schooling, whether at Eton or elsewhere

10a    Birmingham arena about to get one lot of stars and another (9)
{CENTAURUS} – reverse the name of the arena near Birmingham Airport and add a constellation to get another constellation, this one visible in the Southern hemisphere

11a    A particular colonel that may be used in advertising (5)
{BLIMP} – a double definition of a cartoon character and a small airship

12a    Wicked trouble-maker is hanging round prestigious academic institution (7)
{IMPIOUS} – an adjective meaning wicked or irreverent is derived from a small trouble-maker (3) followed by IS (from the clue) around the abbreviation of a prestigious academic institution

13a    Firm turned round by leading American who has great influence? (7)
{OCTOPUS} – reverse the abbreviation for a firm or business and follow it with a word meaning leading and a two-letter alternative for American to get a person or organization with widespread influence – perhaps in picking the winners of football matches!

14a    In the capital a leader wants hearts first and foremost (5)
{HANOI} – to get this Asian capital city start with A and a leader, perhaps at the top of the record charts (2,1) and precede them with H(earts)

15a    Evidence of sorrow? Time to get out liquid medication (8)
{EARDROPS} – drop the initial T(ime) from evidence of sorrow to get liquid medication

18a    Parts to bring for labelling with specific identity (8)
{BRANDING} – the parts to BRING are BR and ING which gives labelling with a specific identity

20a    Stir created by special outfit (3,2)
{GET UP} – a double definition – to stir first thing in the morning or an outfit for a special occasion

23a    Religion to make an impact on society in the end (7)
{LAMAISM} – this Tibetan religion comes from a word meaning to make an impact on or strike followed by S(ociety) inside an end or objective

25a    A word of significance to the egotist to a certain extent (7)
{MEASURE} – a word of particular significance to the egotist followed by A and a word meaning certain gives an extent or size

26a    Like a coined word to denote ‘Christian but not Anglican’? (5)
{NONCE} – an adjective meaning adopted or coined for a particular occasion only (not a lot of people know that!), when split(3,2), could mean Christian but not belonging to the Anglican church

27a    Small animal — does ‘e sadly fail to grow properly? (3,2,4)
{RUN TO SEED} – start with the smallest animal in the litter and add an anagram (sadly) of DOES ‘E gives a phrase meaning to fail to grow properly

28a    Wild beasts running in the chase (8)
{CHEETAHS} – these wild beasts are an anagram (running in?) of THE CHASE

29a    Return looking embarrassed, merriment stifled (6)
{REFUND} – a return of money previously paid is created by putting an adjective meaning looking embarrassed around (stifled) merriment


1d    What provides illumination correctly around walls of cell (3-5)
{ARC LIGHT} – to get this lamp put a word meaning correctly around the outside letters (walls) of CelL

2d    The most important person appears in shocking pink (7)
{KINGPIN} – this most important person is hidden inside (appears in) the last two words of the clue

3d    Cruel old character upset Biblical town to the north (9)
{DRACONIAN} – an adjective meaning cruel is derived from O(ld) and a character or eccentric person reversed (upset) followed by a town where, according to the Gospel of Luke 7:11-17, Jesus resurrected a young man which is also reversed (to the north in a down clue)

5d    Record how old we are — that’s intended, we hear, to create gloom (14)
{DISCOURAGEMENT} – a charade of a gramophone record (4), how old we are (3,3) and what sounds like (we hear) a word meaning intended gives gloom or dejection

6d    Youngster with oomph? 25 many years ago! (5)
{CUBIT} – a young animal is followed by oomph or sex-appeal to give an old 25 across approximately equal to the length of the forearm

7d    Sort of music slowing down on piano — dance around (7)
{BRITPOP} – this music of the mid 1990s that was typically influenced by the Beatles and other groups of the 1960s is created from the abbreviations of the musical command indicating a sudden slowing-down of tempo and P(iano) inside a dance

ARVE Error: need id and provider

8d    Revelation of former model (6)
{EXPOSÉ} – this revelation is a charade of a former partner and a verb meaning to model for an artist

9d    Feature of theatre is terrible muncher, so I carp (10,4)
{PROSCENIUM ARCH} – this feature of many theatres is an anagram (terrible) of MUNCHER SO I CARP

16d    Clothe the old woman, character creating fuss (9)
{RIGMAROLE} – a charade of a word meaning to clothe, the old woman or mother, and a character or part in a play gives a fuss

17d    Magnificent organ (though with one note missing) sufficed (8)
{SPLENDID} – to get an adjective meaning magnificent start with the organ that removes worn-out blood cells, remove (missing) the third note of the diatonic scale of C major and then add a word meaning sufficed or satisfied

19d    Big bird embraces bloke — start of exciting novel? (7)
{ROMANCE} – put an enormous bird, described in Arabian legend as being strong enough to carry off an elephant, around a bloke or chap and then add the initial letter (start) of Exciting to get a genre of novel

21d    Ex-PM making honest money from what’s reported (7)
{TRUDEAU} – this Ex-Prime Minister of Canada sounds like (from what’s reported) honest and a slang term for money

22d    Private hospital or home swamped by endless sound (6)
{CLINIC} – to get this private hospital put a word meaning at home inside (swamped by) most of (endless) a short sharp sound, like the one made by pressing the button on a computer mouse

24d    At university this idle? Erupt! (5)
{INERT} – a word meaning idle describes the position of UP (at university) in ER UP T – discuss!

No favourites today.

25 comments on “Toughie 595

  1. I have to agree with BD on this one – so many of the clues took ages for me to work out what was going on, particularly in the SW corner. Sorry Giovanni, but when I saw your name at the top of the page, I was thinking that we would be in for a fairly straightforward (sorry it’s that word again!) solve with some entertaining wordplay.

      1. Because of all the setters, I do usually find that a Giovanni is usually a reasonably straightforward Toughie provider. I have thought about this on the drive home and revisited the crossword. I have done five cryptics today (four newspapers and one ‘special’ – the latter being my favourite of all today) and would rank today’s Toughie equal fourth in terms of most difficult/least enjoyment. As Big Boab says, it would be no fun if we all thought, and solved, in the same way.

  2. I’m sorry but I have to disagree with both BD and Crypticsue, I really quite enjoyed this, but then it wouldn’t be any fun if we all thought the same. For the first time I think since I started reading the blog my favourite clue was an anagram, I loved 9d. ( Probably because I’m usually hopeless at anagrams and need my wifes assistance with most, I was very pleased to get this one.) I also liked 10a. Thanks to Giovanni for a very tough but doable toughiie and to BD for his usual impeccable review.

  3. Well, strangely (albeit only on a sample of two others) I flew through it. Maybe being a ‘GOM’ myself helped. ;)

    I worked out 7d from the checking letters and only afterwards worked out the wordplay.

    23a was my favourite, having three consecutive letters in common with 6a in the Cryptic.

    1. BigBoab posted while my fingers were hitting the wrong ‘keys’ on my iPhone. It’s now 50:50. :)

  4. Thoroughly enjoyed this one, some lovely clues of which my favourites were 27a 17d 21d but the stand-out for me was 7d. Thanks to Giovanni and to Big Dave for his comments.

  5. I enjoyed this crossword. The clues made you think and with a few exceptions had some very nice surface readings. Thanks to Giovanni for the workout and to BD for the review. Although you had to think, it was not overly tricky – the last clue was in before the office.

  6. I agree-I didn’t think about the wordplay all the time and settled for the fact that everything else was fitting in and found it less of a struggle-wouldn’t have liked to explain the answers for some of them though so thanks again for the blog!!!

  7. I must say I enjoyed this one. On occasions the Toughie can seem impenetrable to me – I like those that give you a fighting chance to get going. Like 27a and 17d. The answer to 26a was a new one to me in that context. I’m not sure about the explanation for 3d. Shouldn’t it be ‘O’ ,(old), not ‘A’ followed by the eccentric and then reversed or have I gone wrong with 12a? Many thanks to BD and Giovanni.

  8. I enjoyed this one. Not “boring” at all. Alas, I failed with 24d & 26a.

    With regard to the discussion on 24d – far too clever for me, but on reflection very clever. (Thanks BD for the explanation)

    My only complaint is in 4a – “Party Leader” = “Ed”.

    1. The definition in 26a is in Chambers, but I had never come across it before – the alternative meaning from prison slang is much better known.

    2. PS! 13a – the Octopus Clue – I understood the wordplay, but not the relevance of “..who has great influence?” . If it is, indeed, Paul the Octopus, from World Cup 2010 – surely, it should be “..who HAD great influence?” I believe he has passed away…..but was not eaten!

      How on earth do you Bloggers always find an explanation?

      1. The reference to Paul was my little joke!

        Chambers has “A person or organization with widespread influence (figurative)” as one of its definitions and the SOED has ” (figurative). An organized, esp. harmful or destructive, power or influence having extended ramifications.”

        I prefer Paul.

  9. Sorry BD but Idid enjoy this puzzle from Giovanni. My problems were with the SW because I had Phonic as the answer. Needed your help there. Fav clue 17d.

  10. It is impossible to keep everyone happy with every puzzle, so if the proprietor occasionally dilsikes my efforts while others like them, that’s fine by me. My big worry is that blogs like these may drive setters to appeal to only a narrow part of the solving spectrum. I and fellow-setters are here to satisfy folk who won’t come near a site like this. A one-star rating from BD won’t necessarily make me do anything different next time since I do not place any absolute value on his judgement, however well-intentioned. As time is short, I won’t feel obliged to deal with queries, but look at Collins if you have worries bout ‘octopus’. Thanks anyway.

    1. You still had to read the review though !!!

      As Gazza pointed out in the back-page review, the ratings are the subjective opinion of the reviewer and of the reviewer alone. Having given it a lot of thought over the past couple of years, my opinion is that a good puzzle is one that leaves you feeling satisfied that you have completed it – this one left me feeling that I wish I hadn’t bothered (which is probably what I will do tomorrow). You can’t get much more subjective than that.

  11. Indeed: I read many of the reviews. The mixture of excellent critical anaysis, utter drivel, and bias (favourable and unfavourable) is part of my daily entertainment. I hope yesterday’s attack of biliousness has departed though!

    1. I am much happier today because I have a puzzle for my Saturday slot that is better than anything I have seen in the Telegraph this week!

    2. Maybe, the solvers should give a bit more respect to the setters (until the solvers become setters). More “Utter Drivel”?

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