Toughie 628

Toughie No 628 by Notabilis

Articulate Rambo

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

I’ve stopped trying to submit puzzles on the website except when I’m blogging (because I’m fed up with getting “Error 0”), but it’s just as well I did this morning because my answer to 25d was rejected – see below.
Apart from that we have a not too taxing but entertaining puzzle from Notabilis. It seems to be the rule now that when setters like Micawber and Notabilis appear mid-week their puzzles are quite a bit gentler than when they turn up on Fridays.
Notabilis usually manages to smuggle something extra into his puzzles just to keep us on our toes and today there are four sets of linked answers (13/14a, 22/23a, 3/15d and 16/26d). If there’s anything else, I’ve failed to spot it.
Give us a comment letting us know how you got on and please take the time to click on one of the stars below to register your level of enjoyment.

Across Clues

1a  Supposing that infiltrating US agent was like a whistle-blower? (5)
{FIFED} – put a conjunction meaning supposing that inside the informal term for a US federal lawman to form how someone with a small flute or whistle might be described cryptically.

4a  Fish to fill a hulk at sea, or pass under it? (8)
{KEELHAUL} – this relates to a barbaric old punishment at sea when a miscreant was dragged under the ship from one side to the other. Insert a fish in an anagram (at sea) of A HULK.

10a  Filling for some pasta or apricot tart (7)
{RICOTTA} – this soft Italian cheese can be used as a filling for pasta but filling also indicates that the answer is hidden in the clue.

11a  Border with unopened flower enthrals a poet (7)
{RIMBAUD} – start with a synonym for border then add an unopened flower with A inside (enthrals) to make a nineteenth century French poet. When the footballer Eric Cantona mentioned him as one of his early influences during an interview, the British football writers (not used to cultural footballers) assumed that he was talking about the Sylvester Stallone character.

12a  Movers and shakers’ leading couples dance boisterously (4)
{MOSH} – this is a slang verb meaning to dance boisterously. I’d never heard of it but the wordplay is straightforward – combine the leading couple of letters from MO(vers) and SH(akers). Nice clue.

13a  Break off end of chocolate in box (5)
{CEASE} – a verb meaning to break off or desist comes from inserting the end letter of (chocolat)E in a box.

14a  Dismiss feminine fury (4)
{FIRE} – a verb to dismiss is F(eminine) followed by a synonym for fury.

17a  Petty officer in inclination to cut stir, adapting trivial punishment (4,2,3,5)
{SLAP ON THE WRIST} – this is a trivial or token punishment. Start by putting the abbreviation for Petty Officer inside an inclination or slope, then add a verb meaning to cut or chop. Finish off with an anagram (adapting) of STIR.

19a  Plummy addition (possibly kitchen coinage) (5,2,3,4)
{ICING ON THE CAKE} – an anagram (possibly) of KITCHEN COINAGE gives us a desirable (plummy) addition to something that is already pretty good.

22a  Turn page in boozer (4)
{SPOT} – a brief performance or turn comes from inserting P(age) in a heavy drinker.

23a  Control constant blazes (5)
{CHECK} – a synonym for control is formed from the constant used for the speed of light and a milder euphemism for hell or the blazes therein.

24a  See in Tom, Dick or Harry a god (4)
{JOVE} – put the single-letter abbreviation meaning see inside the name given (mainly in North America) to an ordinary man (like the other three ordinary men in the clue). The result is the chief Roman god.

27a  Pak choi is plant regularly cut up for root starch (7)
{TAPIOCA} – this is a starchy substance made from cassava (used in a pudding that we used to get a lot in school dinners – generally known as frogspawn). It’s found in every other letter (regularly) reversed (cut up) of “pak choi is plant”.

28a  Small complaint before one grasps hard African language (7)
{SWAHILI} – start with S(mall) and then put H(ard) inside a complaint or expression of grief and follow that with I (one) to make an African language.

29a  Public address wicked lives with ecstasy or bliss (8)
{PARADISE} – the definition here is bliss. The abbreviation for public address is followed by a short form of radical (which is apparently used in the US as a slang term for excellent or wicked), a synonym for lives (as a verb) and E(cstasy).

30a  Line incorporated by act towards sound system (5)
{DOLBY} – put L(ine) inside a phrasal verb (2,2) meaning act towards to make the name of a proprietary sound system.

Down Clues

1d  A few rising in garrison will be top-ranked (8)
{FOREMOST} – a word for a few is reversed (rising) in another word for garrison.

2d  Fish swimming round capital are reddish-purple (7)
{FUCHSIA} – an anagram (swimming) of FISH goes round the abbreviation for a capital (as opposed to lower-case) letter and this is followed by the abbreviation of A(re) (are, here, being not the verb but a unit of metric land measure). The whole thing describes a reddish-brown colour named after a German botanist.

3d  Lose heart in dull work assignment (4)
{DUTY} – lose the central S from an adjective meaning dull or uninteresting to leave a work assignment.

5d  Barbarian occupiers smite opposition to Federation (14)
{EUROSCEPTICISM} – an anagram (barbarian?) of OCCUPIERS SMITE produces a  philosophy covering shades of opinion ranging from not wanting any further continental integration to wishing to raise a drawbridge at Dover.

6d  Sign of growth heading off reversal of boom (4)
{LUMP} – remove the initial S (heading off) from the opposite of a financial boom.

7d  Plants spies among industrial relations group (7)
{ACACIAS} – the usual US spies are rendered inside the group tasked with bringing the two sides of an industrial dispute together to make thorny shrubs with yellow or white flowers.

8d  Left for dead in stratagem’s retreat (5)
{LODGE} – this is a retreat or a secluded dwelling. Start with a stratagem or ruse and replace the first D with L (left for dead).

9d  Two with heavy habits wasted benefit from incompatible situations (4,2,4,4)
{HAVE IT BOTH WAYS} – an anagram (wasted) of TWO and HEAVY HABITS gives us a phrase meaning to both keep one’s cake and eat it.

15d  Limit uranium in atomic force (5)
{BOUND} – a synonym for limit is made by putting U(ranium) inside a strong force of attraction holding atoms together.

16d  Conservationist’s note after consent initially withheld (5)
{GREEN} – N(ote) comes after a verb to consent or concur without its initial A (initially withheld).

18d  The object in a vegetable expedition (8)
{CELERITY} – expedition here means speed.

20d  One splits first element installed in boiler (7)
{CHOPPER} – the chemical symbol of the first element in the periodic table goes inside an old boiler (because that’s what they were made from) to make something used for splitting.

21d  When transforming, a coil is avoiding contact (7)
{ASOCIAL} – a word meaning when is followed by an anagram (transforming) of A COIL to describe someone who’s a bit of a loner. Thanks to Crypticsue for supplying the correct wordplay.

22d  Places turned over when European enters organisation (3-2)
{SET-UP} – a verb meaning places is reversed (turned over) and E(uropean) goes inside it.

25d  Female with very mature bust (4)
{FOLD} – append an adjective meaning very mature to F(emale) to make a verb meaning (of a company) to cease functioning or go bust. The answer given on the website, which is obviously incorrect, is {FOND} – I used two hints to establish this after the correct answer was rejected. At least the surface lends itself to a picture …

26d  Wag needing Jag, say, and diamonds (4)
{CARD} – what a jag is an example of is followed by D(iamonds) to make a wag.

I liked 4a, 2d and 7d but my favourite clue today was 12a. Let us know what you liked.


27 Comments

  1. crypticsue
    Posted September 7, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Definitely harder than 2* difficulty for me. I had to leave several clues to cogitate for a while but luckily they all fell into place when I returned to the crossword. Thanks to Notabilis and to Gazza too. I think 12a was my favourite too.

  2. gnomethang
    Posted September 7, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Did anyone else spot the apparent mistake in 21d?
    All good fun though so thanks to both!

    • crypticsue
      Posted September 7, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Not sure there is a mistake – the A and S come from a two-letter word meaning ‘when’. The ‘is’ is surely just there to mislead busy gnomes :)

      • gazza
        Posted September 7, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        Well, I fell for it. Thanks CS.

      • Prolixic
        Posted September 7, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

        I wasn’t busy enough as I did not fall for that one :)

  3. gnomethang
    Posted September 7, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    DOH!
    Apologies to all!

  4. pegasus
    Posted September 7, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I rated this a four star for both difficulty and enjoyment, many superb clues of which my favourites were 2d 23a and 27a. Thanks to Notabilis and to Gazza for the review.

  5. Jacky
    Posted September 7, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    21d isn’t an anagram of a coil is, but a coil as. Unless there is another way to get the second A and
    drop the I

    • gazza
      Posted September 7, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Hi Jacky – welcome to the blog.
      I’ve corrected the hint now.

  6. Prolixic
    Posted September 7, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    A cracking crossword from Notabilis. Thanks to him and to Gazza for the review. Clues of which I was fond included 12a, 27a,1d and 5d.

  7. Jezza
    Posted September 7, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    I found this comparatively straightforward today. The only clue I struggled on was 24a.
    Thanks to Notabilis, and to Gazza for the notes.

  8. Posted September 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    A very enjoyable puzzle. 5d is my favourite – very apposite! I entered 21d, 24a and 29a without understanding why, so I’m grateful to Gazza for the explanation.

  9. Franco
    Posted September 7, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I knew that would happen! Whenever I manage most of a Toughie unaided, it is normally downgraded to a back-pager.

    Thanks to Gazza for explaining 3d & 24a.

    Also, thanks for the Eric Cantona anecdote!

    “When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea” – definitely Rimbaud’s influence at work!

    • Kath
      Posted September 7, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

      This is surely more difficult than the toughest of back page crosswords …..

  10. spindrift
    Posted September 7, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    The image at 27a took me straight back to 1972 when Blott Major was our table monitor at dinner! I’ll never sleep tonight thinking about how he used to dish the food out…

  11. Lostboy
    Posted September 7, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    I just couldn’t finish the NE corner- drat that Eric Cantona and his Frenchness!

    Two new things I have learnt today-
    1. The use of “v” for see and
    2. The use of “UC” for upper case, despite 34 years in the computer industry.

    My favourite clue was 1a, mainly because I was on a train just North of Edinburgh at the time.
    And of course, hoorah for 25D!

  12. seemore
    Posted September 7, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    for the uninformed; 12 a is less of a dance, really a lot of jumping about and crashing into people at rock gigs, in the so called “12a Pit”; usually done by the young….I’m too old to do it any more, but it’s funny watching them!

    • Posted September 7, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      May I refer you all to “Caught in a Mosh” by the mighty Anthrax. May a youtube clip will ensue!…..

      • Franco
        Posted September 7, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        As no-one else has volunteered – the mighty Anthrax.

        Not my cup of tea – Hope it’s not catching!!

    • Lostboy
      Posted September 7, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      My innings has passed 50 n.o., and I did it last week.

      The lovely Princess Sharrona of Scandonorvania (for it was she) told me off though. :-(

  13. JB
    Posted September 7, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    My “online” Chambers let me down. It had keel haul as 2 words and didn’t have “mosh”. The second I worked out from the word play (it’s in the hardback dictionary} but failed with the first. I got “fifed” but it is an ugly, unlikely word. Once learnt, best forgotten!

    • Lostboy
      Posted September 7, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      …….unless you’re in the Kingdom of Fife as you solve it, at which point it would make you smile.
      Well, it did me, anyway.

  14. Posted September 7, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    A small piece of total trivia:

    Rimbaud is mentioned in a verse of the Bob Dylan song “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go”

    Situations have ended sad
    Relationships have all been bad
    Mine’ve been like Verlaine’s and Rimbaud
    But there’s no way I can compare
    All those scenes to this affair
    Yer gonna make me lonesome when you go

  15. Notabilis
    Posted September 7, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    Sorry about the wrong answer for 25d (it was fixed online by 11:00 BST) and also the unintentional use of “up” for reversal in an across answer at 27a.

    • Lostboy
      Posted September 7, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      Fear not mon ami, it was tres bon.

  16. Kath
    Posted September 7, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    …. oh dear! Should have known better than to try …. I can’t say that I wasn’t warned but only managed five answers – might try again on another rainy day …. :sad:

  17. Kath
    Posted September 7, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    Sorry – manners as well as brains gone missing (perhaps they’ve gone off together) – thanks to Notabilis and to Gazza.