Toughie 600

Toughie No 600 by Warbler

I say, I say, I say

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

I’m still sulking because Micawber has absconded from his rightful place – the Wednesday slot. Instead we have a pretty gentle Toughie where most of the clues would have felt quite at home on the back page, but I did quite enjoy it.
Let us know what you thought and please take the time to click on one of the stars below to record how much you liked it.

Across Clues

1a  Married men’s nemeses who aren’t slim sadly (7-2-3)
{MOTHERS-IN-LAW} – the butts of many an old comedian’s jokes are an anagram (sadly) of WHO AREN’T SLIM.

9a  Section ready to include Feds (7)
{SEGMENT} – the informal way of referring to FBI agents (1-3) goes inside a synonym of ready.

10a  Discoloration caused by swirling rains in the centre of Eltham (7)
{TARNISH} – insert an anagram (swirling) of RAINS between the middle two letters of ElTHam.

11a  Slightly burn fish (4)
{CHAR} – double definition.

12a  Asian river is excluded from manufacturing test (5)
{TRIAL} – remove the name of a major Asian river (which enters the sea near Karachi) from the start of an adjective meaning manufacturing to leave a synonym of test.

13a  Triumph utterly obscures sound of collapse (4)
{PHUT} – hidden (obscures) in the clue is the sound ascribed to something collapsing or coming to a grinding halt.

16a  Water in old malt changing colour (7)
{OATMEAL} – this is a brownish colour. Put a 2-character word for running water (a word we see fairly regularly in Toughies) inside an anagram (changing) of O(ld) MALT.

17a  Halt work round river in S Africa (7)
{LIMPOPO} – this river of southern Africa is a charade of the verb to halt (meaning to walk unsteadily or unevenly), an abbreviation for work and O (round).

18a  Mythical musician’s playing. Oh super! (7)
{ORPHEUS} – an anagram (playing) of OH SUPER leads to a poet and musician from Greek mythology.

21a  British beer’s strong, almost menacing (7)
{BALEFUL} – the definition is menacing. String together B(ritish), a synonym for beer and an adjective meaning strong (e.g. when applied to a flavour) without its final L (almost).

23a  Plan’s well-nigh perfect (4)
{IDEA} – remove (well-nigh) the final letter from a synonym of perfect.

24a  Public upset after vase is stolen (5)
{OVERT} – remove a vase from the end of a verb meaning to upset to leave an adjective meaning not concealed or public.

25a  Become submerged head to toe in black liquids (4)
{INKS} – a verb meaning to become submerged has its initial letter moved to the end (head to toe).

28a  Elite area runs new workshop (7)
{ATELIER} – an anagram (new) of ELITE A(rea) and R(uns).

29a  It’s a riddle when chief replaces prince at head of procession (7)
{CHARADE} – a type of riddle which forms the basis of a party game appears when the P(rince) is removed from the start of a procession and replaced by CH(ief).

30a  Chelsea exuberant after difficult race (12)
{STEEPLECHASE} – a race over obstacles (the Grand National, for example) is constructed from an anagram (exuberant) of CHELSEA after an adjective meaning difficult or unreasonable.

Down Clues

1d  Traveller in aircraft flew to Thailand (7)
{MIGRANT} – someone travelling from one country to another is a 29a of a Russian fighter aircraft, a synonym for flew or moved quickly and the IVR code for Thailand.

2d  Prior to end of October draw level (4)
{TIER} – before the last letter of (Octobe)R put a draw (a game in which the scores are equal) to make a level (in an arena, say).

3d  Penetrate abdominal extremities within the gut (7)
{ENTERAL} – an adjective meaning relating to the intestine comes from a verb to penetrate followed by the outer letters (extremities) of A(bdomina)L.

4d  Changing date to Sunday reorganise details and begin journey (3,4)
{SET SAIL} – replace (changing) the D(ate) to S(unday) in details and then make an anagram (reorganise) from what you now have.

5d  Batty character’s regularly in your way (4)
{NORA} – she of the wrinkled stockings comes from the even (regularly) letters of “in your way”.

6d  Sounds like a paper hankie’s needed for this (7)
{ATISHOO} – the sound you make when in need of a paper hankie sounds like (1,6) the object itself.

7d  Scary film’s convincing yet it’s all in the mind (13)
{PSYCHOLOGICAL} – a scary Hitchcock film is followed by a synonym of convincing or well-reasoned.

8d  Hi-fi set, both large and initially trendy, goes wrong (6-7)
{GHETTO-BLASTER} – this is a sort of semi-semi-all-in-one. The definition is hi-fi and it’s an anagram (goes wrong) of SET BOTH LARGE and T(rendy).

14d  Either way it’s even (5)
{LEVEL} – a palindrome.

15d  Swimmer had unpleasant odour (5)
{SMELT} – double definition, the swimmer being a fish related to the salmon family.

19d  Stop before opening (7)
{PREVENT} – a charade of a prefix meaning before and an opening.

20d  More than one interpretation of a Latin verse (7)
{SEVERAL} – the definition is more than one and it’s an anagram (interpretation) of A L(atin) VERSE.

21d  Penniless actor, losing heart, retrained in burlesque in Canada first of all (7)
{BORACIC} – we want a slang term for penniless (which comes from rhyming slang – something rhyming with skint). It’s an anagram (retrained) of AC(t)OR (losing heart) inside the initial letters of Burlesque In Canada.

22d  Elaborate display of ‘cool’ food (7)
{FANFARE} – a verb meaning to cool is followed by a synonym for food.

26d  Touch up European holiday cottage (4)
{GITE} – a word meaning a touch (also a childhood game in which the objective is to touch someone else to make them “it”) is reversed (up, in a down clue) and followed by E(uropean).

27d  Joke about lady on stage (4)
{GAGA} – a joke is followed by A(bout) to make the name of the lady American singer who is currently all the rage. Unfortunately Chambers rarely tells us how an abbreviation is used, so if anyone knows in what context A is used to mean about, that would be useful (to me, anyway!).

The clues I liked best were 17a, 24a and 5d. How about you?

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23 Comments

  1. crypticsue
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Definitely only 1* difficulty – 75% of the solutions went in as I worked my way through the clues. I did enjoy the experience, thank you to Warbler. My favourite clue was 17a – not least because I was brought up on the Just So Stories and always remember the ‘Great grey-green greasy 17a, all set about with fever trees”. Thanks to Gazza too for the review.

  2. Jezza
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    A gentle Toughie, which was most enjoyable. I thought 1a was a nice start to the puzzle!
    Thanks to Warbler, and to Gazza.

  3. Posted July 20, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Agreed with the above – just a couple to make one think – I was playing with SOIL OILS for too long!.]Many thanks to Warbler and to Gazza – I’m not sure on the A(bout) bit either!

    • Jezza
      Posted July 20, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      Unless a joke is A GAG, and then reverse it (about)??

      • crypticsue
        Posted July 20, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

        Give that man a banana – no sorry I mean a paw-paw :D

      • gazza
        Posted July 20, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

        The clue says “joke” not “a joke”. A, according to Chambers is a recognised abbreviation for about – I just don’t know in what context.

        • crypticsue
          Posted July 20, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

          The online Dictionary.com has it as an abbreviation for about too – but again doesn’t explain why!

          • Qix
            Posted July 20, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

            My guess would be that the clue was originally written as “A joke…” and ended up being edited. That would be a much more natural way to write the clue, with “about” as a reversal indicator.

  4. BigBoab
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Warbler for a most enjoyable crossword and to Gazza for his excellent review. Personal favourite was 5d.

  5. pegasus
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Very gentle Toughie today could easily have appeared on the back page, thanks to Warbler and to Gazza.

  6. Dickiedot
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Finished without help, patted myself on the back and then read Sue’s comment and thought, yes she’s right it was easier than usual. Oh well, I did enjoy it though, thanks Warbler and Gazza

  7. Pete
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    When I can get the Toughie out without resorting to the clues I know it will be read as easy. Never the less I enjoyed it and it filled in an hour while the rain continues to hammer down!
    Thanks to Warbler and Gazza.

  8. Anncantab
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Quite easy today, only fell down on 21d and 30a. Was looking for an emblem associated with Chelsea FC, and even after reading the hint for 21d didn’t understand until I looked in the dictionary that the answer meant penniless as well as a chemical.
    thank you for the hints.

    • Posted July 20, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      As any Londoner will tell you, boracic lint = skint. With rhyming slang it is usual (except for non-Londoners!) to drop the rhyming word. Hence apples = apples and pears = stairs and boat = boat race = face.

  9. AtH1900
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Regarding ‘a’ being the abbreviation for ‘about’, it might have something to do with there having been (at least) three prefixes for the Old English word ‘butan’, itself meaning “outside”, being: ‘a’, ‘in’ and ‘en’.

    But there, my research stalls.

  10. Heno
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Warbler for a do-able puzzle, and to Big Dave for the review & hints, had to look up 13, can’t believe I missed a written-in….skill of the setter.
    22 & 25, both beyond me. But the rest was enjoyable, favourites were 1a & 21a. Thanks to crypticsue for recommending.

  11. upthecreek
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Another good offering by Warbler with some great clues. Must remember 1a as it gave me a real laugh. Other goodies were 15 16 18 21a 21d 25 and 30. There were no dodgy clues like yesterday and I feel it was worthy of the 600 landmark.

  12. Prolixic
    Posted July 20, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks.to Warbler for a gentle stroll in Toughieland today and to Gazza for the review. Normally with Warbler the clues lull you into a false sense of security and there are some real teasers to untangle at the end. I kept waiting for the gotchas but they did not materialise today. Favourite clue was 7d

  13. Spindrift
    Posted July 21, 2011 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    …and here’s me in smug mode thinking how clever I was to complete a toughie without referring to the hints only to find my betters considered it a gentle stroll. Ah well – back to the day job of solving the back pagers.

  14. milkyboy
    Posted July 21, 2011 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    i don’t often get round to the toughie, and when I do, frankly, they are usually beyond my capabilities, but just done this morning, in what must have been close to record time for a back pager… pleasant enough ride but would have been 1 * on the back page for me, so not sure what that makes it as a toughie!

    • Jezza
      Posted July 21, 2011 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Today’s is a little trickier (IMO).

      • Prolixic
        Posted July 21, 2011 at 11:08 am | Permalink

        Little in the same sense that News Inernational is in a little bit of trouble at the moment!

        • Jezza
          Posted July 21, 2011 at 11:14 am | Permalink

          lol :)