Toughie 654

Toughie No 654 by Elgar

Parlez-Vous Franglais?

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

Tilsit has been dragged from the drainpipe in which he was hiding after being shot at by NATO warplanes and detained somewhere in the desert, so you’ve got me again! The hardest part of this puzzle was unravelling some of the wordplay, which was not helped by the error in the published clue for 14a/16a.

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Across

1a    It is restricting a beginner, holding back strategy of choice range (7,4)
{ITALIAN ALPS} – put IT IS around (restricting) A and a beginner/learner and then insert (holding) reversed (back) the strategy of choice (perhaps the only one this Government has!) to get this mountain range

9a    Cross Cajun writer? (4)
{ZOLA} – a charade of a kind of hybrid domestic cattle found in parts of the Himalayas, said to be a cross between the male yak and the common horned cow, and the Zip code for the US state associated with Cajuns gives a French writer

10a    Cab-drivers ultimately to have to do French ‘Knowledge’ (6-5)
{SAVOIR-FAIRE} – the final letter (ultimately) of cab-driverS is followed by the French verbs for “to have” and “to do” to get a word of French origin meaning knowledge or the faculty of knowing just what to do and how to do it

11a    Imitation white chocolate boxes (4)
{ECHO} – this imitation or repetition is hidden inside (boxes) the clue

14a & 16a    Facilities for one undertaking madcap plan with ruler broken into 4 (7,7)
{FUNERAL PARLOUR} – these facilities used by an undertaker are created by putting an anagram (madcap) of PLAN with RULER inside (broken into) 4 expanded as a word – and then wondering where the other A comes from! [Stop press: the setter has informed us that the clue should have read “Facilities for one undertaking madcap plan with a ruler broken into 4”]

16a    See 14a

17a         Time to carve the contents of oven tin? (5)
{METAL} – put T(ime) inside (to carve) the contents of a oven, perhaps the Sunday roast – tin is a definition by example, indicated by the question mark

18a         Porter’s absorbed by pivot (4)
{AXLE} – put porter or beer around X (by / times) to get a pivot

19a         When I had trimmed land mass (4)
{ASIA} – a charade of a two-letter word meaning when, I from the clue and (H)A(D) trimmed gives a land mass

20a         Supple Miss Bott’s telling us untruths? (5)
{LITHE} – this adjective meaning sounds like untruths as spoken by William Brown’s friend Miss Violet Elizabeth Bott

22a & 23a             One acquiring interest in shady Ted’s occupation (7,7)
{DEPOSIT ACCOUNT} – interest accrues on this – it’s an anagram () of (shady) of TED’S OCCUPATION

23a         See 22a

24a         Threateningly overhang weaving machine (4)
{LOOM} – a double definition

28a         Having rid oneself of slouch, correctly secure the stable door (4,7)
{BOLT UPRIGHT} – to sit like this is the opposite of slouching – split as (4,2,5) it could mean that the stable door has been secured correctly

29a         Simplistic poem introduced by new article (4)
{NAÏF} – to get this adjective meaning simplistic start with a poem by Rudyard Kipling and precede it with (introduced by) N(ew) and the indefinite article

30a         Doctor on the mend, as there’s more to give (3,4,4)
{AND THEN SOME} – an anagram (doctor) of ON THE MEND AS gives a phrase meaning there’s more to give

Down

2d           Get more friendly women to support Henry in Cheers (4)
{THAW} – A word meaning to get more friendly by melting the ice is created by putting W(omen) under (to support in a down clue) H (Henry as an SI unit) itself inside a word meaning cheers or thank you

3d           Looking up a sun-drenched country (4)
{LAOS} – put A from the clue inside another word for the sun and reverse the lot (looking up in a down clue) to get this Asian country

4d & 20d              A coarse City supporter, leading advocate of freedom in speech (7,7)
{ABRAHAM LINCOLN} – A from the clue is followed by an adjective meaning coarse or inexpert and a city football team with a support garment in front (leading) to give an advocate of freedom in speech

5d           This side’s Dutch courage and strength typified him (4)
{AJAX} – an example of lift and separate – the first part is “this (football) side is Dutch” and the second is “courage and strength typified (this Greek hero) him”

6d           and 21 Down: Coming across to dim the light (7,7)
{PARTIAL ECLIPSE} – a cryptic definition of what happens when the moon gets between Earth and the Sun

7d           Seasonal fare — trying borscht on us or ‘Boston crush’ cocktail? (3,5,3)
{HOT CROSS BUN} – this seasonal fare is traditionally eaten at Easter, it’s an anagram (trying) of  BORSCHT ON US or (cocktail) of BOSTON CRUSH  – two anagrams for the price of one!

8d           Singers of The Red Flag bass — and what we sang in the song (6,5)
{LABOUR PARTY} – for some reason these people sing this Communist anthem at their conference – put B(ass) and the bit of the song that we sang (3,4) inside a song (3)

12d         Do like the trooper loveless boffin landed in trouble (3,3,5)
{EFF AND BLIND} – this phrase that means to swear like a trooper is an anagram (in trouble) of B(O)FFIN LANDED without the O (loveless)

13d         A long meandering film about rustic, unlike Robert Browning? (11)
{ANGLOPHOBIC} – an anagram (meandering) of A LONG is followed by a short word for a film around a rustic to give a word that means a person who fears or dislikes England and things English – unlike Robert Browning who wrote:

Oh, to be in England
Now that April’s there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England – now!

15d         OK to run? (5)
{LEGIT} – the colloquially shortened form of a word meaning that something is OK or legal can, when split (3,2), mean to run

16d         Governor’s old title the old man has abandoned (5)
{PASHA} – this Turkish title given to governors prior to 1934 is constructed from a two-letter word meaning the old man followed by an anagram (abandoned) of HAS

20d         See 4d

21d         See 6d

25d         Restore Heads of School to English tech (4)
{STET} – the Latin word that means to restore what has been crossed out comes from the initial letters (heads) of four words in the clue

26d         Just touch pink, say — or pins, if ———- (4)
{KISS} – this word means to just touch, especially when applied to two snooker balls, but the rest of the wordplay eludes me at present [Thanks to Crypticsue for spelling it out literally – take the answer, split it (1,2,1) and it then fills the blank as an instruction to turn pinK into pinS]

27d         False teeth finally accepted by American uncle (4)
{SHAM} – a word meaning false or bogus is created by putting the final letter of teetH inside the Uncle traditionally associated with the USA

This one really made me think!

19 Comments

  1. Mike in Amble
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed ths Elgar very much. Hadn’t a clue why 9a was what it was apart from being a French writer. Read BD and learnt! Thanks setter and Bd for all yoyr assistance.

    • Mike in Amble
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      Sorry about “your” and” BD. :C Cold fingers after returning from a Northumbrian walk.

      • Mike in Amble
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

        Can’t even get the smiley right. :( .

  2. andy
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    As per Mike in Amble I put 9a in without being able to parse it, and did wonder about the 14a 16a missing “a”. A commented elsewhere on the more user friendly side of Vlad but still plenty to smile about. Liked 22&23a and 12d.
    Thanks to Elgar and BD

  3. davelawes
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    I thought this v. good but the shorties were the most difficult – 9a, 19a, 29a , however 4&20 d made up for it ….I await the explanation for the 4d bit with interest …Thanks all .

  4. BigBoab
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Elgar for a crossword which was eminently doable by those of us with limited cranial capacity. Great fun! Thanks to BD for the hints.

  5. pegasus
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Not as fiendish as he usually is but still very enjoyable. Favourites were 14a 30a and 13d thanks to Elgar and to Big Dave for the comments.

  6. crypticsue
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Super Elgar in pussy cat mode (rather than V t I). Thank you to him for the great fun and to BD for the explanations. My favourites were numerous but include 10a, 20a 28a, 13d and the d’oh-inducing wordplay in 26d.

    Just so the rest of you can spend the evening singing/suffering as I have done I must pass on the fact that when I emailed Prolixic about 9a as I didn’t understand the cross bit, the subject line of his response said ‘Zo – needle pulling thread. La (note to follow Zo)’ :D I got him back by reminding him of the Anax Rolf Harris song themed NTSPP. Now I’ve got you – which song are you going to be stuck with all evening? (Sorry)

  7. Jezza
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Elgar for an enjoyable, not too tough puzzle, and to BD for the notes.
    I am still a little confused with 1a, as there seems to be an extra ‘a’ to account for in the first word of the answer; I am no doubt having one of my stupid moments!

    • Posted October 21, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      It’s Plan A – this Government is accused of not having a Plan B!

      • Jezza
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

        Ouch! that will teach me to read the clue properly, and not ignore the ‘of choice’ bit! Thanks.

  8. crypticsue
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    26d – the wordplay is a proper d’oh moment – its K is S – the k of pinK is (changes to) s in pinS

    • Posted October 21, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      It’s my turn to say Ouch!

  9. Warren
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    Massive struggle but got there in the end so pretty satisfied even if I didn’t get the word play without the hints for 2 of them. Quite an elegant puzzle I thought.

  10. Prolixic
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks to Elgar for a fun but gentler mind mangling and to BD for the review. Plenty of D’oh a deer, a female deer moments – sorry Sue but you will be humming it again now :)

    • crypticsue
      Posted October 21, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

      I hadn’t stopped – how are you doing with the kangaroos? :D

      • Prolixic
        Posted October 21, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

        What kangaroos?? snigger, snigger.

  11. Posted October 21, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to BD for stepping in at short notice when I was carted off to my second home by ambulance at some ungodly hour this morning.

    Am having more tests, Latin and General Studies later.

    Thanks also to Elgar for an enjoyable romp – a little easier than usual though I fear that means an absolute stinker is just around the corner.

  12. Heno
    Posted October 23, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Elgar & Big Dave. A great puzzle, needed 4 hints to finish. Really enjoyed it. Favourites were 7,12, 15 d & 28a.