Toughie 667

Toughie No 667 by Elkamere

Pink fluffy slippers!

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Elkamere / Anax described this as a purring pussy of a puzzle and he was right. It proves that a puzzle does not have to be difficult to be enjoyable, but I must admit to preferring Anax with teeth to Elkamere with gums!

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.

Across

7a    Clean shot cuts through Spanish city (8)
{VALENCIA} – put an anagram (shot) of CLEAN inside (cuts) a word meaning through to get this Spanish city

9a    Kingdom never without king (6)
{NORWAY} – a Scandinavian kingdom is created by putting a slang phrase (2,3) for never around R (Rex / king)

10a    Resolve to tackle North American hostility (6)
{ANIMUS} – put a verb meaning to resolve or intend around (to tackle) N(orth) and add an American to get this hostility or bitterness

11a    Very special amulet for lover (4,4)
{SOUL MATE} – a two-letter synonym for very is followed by an anagram (special) of AMULET to get this lover or bosom friend

12a    Stroll through law offices? (14)
{CONSTITUTIONAL} – this stroll or walk for the benefit of one’s health also means through the offices of the law or legitimate

15a    Starts to wonder how Andrew made pop group with George (4)
{WHAM!} – the initial letters of four of the words in the clue give a pop group – old joke: Q. How do you tell the difference between a single by this group and one by George Michael A. On the George Michael single you can’t hear Andrew Ridgeley standing behind George Michael (ok, I’ve used this one before on Toughie 503!)

17a    Wild beast’s head in sack (5)
{RABID} – this adjective meaning wild or berserk is created by putting the initial letter (head) of Beast inside a verb meaning to sack or plunder

19a    Begrudge agent being starved of oxygen (4)
{ENVY} – to get this verb meaning to begrudge or covet drop the O (starved of Oxygen) from an agent sent to transact business with a foreign government

20a    Soldiers seeing only rare deployment (5,9)
{ROYAL ENGINEERS} – these soldiers are an anagram (deployment) of SEEING ONLY RARE

23a    Crow welcomes first-class rail support (8)
{BALUSTER} – put a verb meaning to crow or swagger around A (first-class) to get this small pillar supporting a stair rail

25a    Monkey after an antelope (6)
{IMPALA} – a charade of a cheeky monkey and the words of French origin meaning after or “in the manner of” gives an African antelope capable of prodigious leaps

27a    They may take risks negotiating an extreme part of piste (6)
{SKIERS} – this semi all-in-one requires an anagram (negotiating) of RISKS around the final letter (an extreme part) of pistE to get someone described by the whole clue

28a    Steady speed, given right of way (8)
{MODERATE} – this adjective meaning steady or reasonable is derived from a speed or velocity after (“right of” in an across clue) a way or style

Down

1d    Bucket leaked without one (4)
{RAIN} – a verb meaning to bucket or pour is created by putting a verb meaning leaked or seeped around I (one)

2d    Skin overly inflamed? Mark exists (6)
{DERMIS} – the true skin, below the outer layer, is built up from an adjective meaning inflamed reversed (overly), M (Marks / former German currency) and a verb meaning exists

3d    Secretary extremely studious while away (4)
{PASS} – a two-letter abbreviation of for a posh secretary followed by the outside letters (extremely) of StudiouS gives a verb meaning while away (the time)

4d    At home young one causes nightmares (6)
{INCUBI} – a charade of a two-letter word meaning at home, the young of an animal like the lion and I (one) gives these nightmares, caused by devils supposed to assume a male body and have sexual intercourse with women in their sleep

5d    Bishop wants Italian church to offer male bonding (8)
{BROMANCE} – a charade of B(ishop), an Italian from their capital city and the Church of England gives this word (new to me) meaning male bonding or a close, but not romantic, relationship between two men – this is an addition to the 12th edition of the Big Red Book

6d    Type of bridge, not for quick crossing? (10)
{CANTILEVER} – to get this bridge, constructed of beams built into piers at each end of the span and connected together in the middle of the span, start with a a word meaning not for and then put a word meaning quick or intelligent around (crossing) it

8d    Fire? Who can tell? (7)
{CASHIER} – a double definition – as a verb it means to fire or dismiss from the armed forces and as a noun it’s a bank teller

13d    Old Panzers carrying German soldiers (5,5)
{OTHER RANKS] – start with O(ld) and then put the type of military vehicles of which Panzers are an example around the title accorded a German male to get these soldiers who are usually seen in Crosswordland in abbreviated form

14d    City tour’s not allowed to stop (5)
{URBAN} – this adjective meaning city or metropolitan is constructed from (TO)UR without the TO (not allowed to) and a verb meaning to stop

16d    Guitarist and his group, one chosen for festival (3,5)
{MAY QUEEN} – a charade of a famous guitarist and the name of his group gives this young woman who is crowned with flowers at a festival

18d    How god is made up as well? (7)
{DEIFIED} – this word meaning how a god is made is a palindrome, so it reads the same in reverse (up as well)

21d    Entering flat, is housekeeper somewhat slow? (6)
{LATISH} – hidden inside (entering) three of the words in the clue is a word meaning somewhat slow

22d    No longer cheeky? That’s authority (6)
{EXPERT} – a charade of a word meaning no longer or former and a synonym for cheeky gives an authority on a given subject

24d    Strange soft seat (4)
{RUMP} – a charade of a word meaning strange and the musical notation for soft gives a seat or behind

26d    Reluctant to make circumstances hard (4)
{LOTH} – an adjective meaning reluctant is derived from a charade of circumstances or fate and H(ard)

There’s an interview with Elkamere / Anax on the Guardian website – it’s well-worth reading, just click on the picture below:

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14 Comments

  1. crypticsue
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    I quite enjoyed pink fluffy Anax – most of it was fine but the NE corner put up a bit of a fight with muttering and the use of Tippex! A very enjoyable start to the Toughie week, thank you Anax. Thanks to BD too.

  2. Jezza
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    An enjoyable, not too demanding puzzle today. Thanks to Elkamere for a good start to the Toughie week, and to BD for the notes.

  3. pegasus
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Thoroughly enjoyable favourites 6d 14d and 12a thanks to Elkamere and to Big Dave for the review.

  4. Chris
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant!
    5d was new.
    16d caused family hysteria (female members)
    Seems to me that Anax gets it just right.
    Thanks to him and to BD for review.

  5. Posted November 15, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant from me too!
    Never come across 5d eother but it was guessable from the wordplay so OK by me.
    Particularly liked 20a and 13d – we usually only come across these as their abbreviations. Nice see the full words getting an outing!

    Thanks to Elkamere and BD.

  6. Heno
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Elkamere & Big Dave. I don’t often venture into Toughieland, but I’m pleased to say that I enjoyed it, even though I needed 9 hints, 4 of which I had to look up. Favourites were 15& 25a.

  7. Posted November 15, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    Well I finally finished this off having staled in the NW corner and finally justifying 1d and 10a. There were some seriously fun clues here. My favourites included:
    8d – Lovely def.
    16d – Nice spot!
    25a – After – I missed it!
    18 – Lovely spot.
    Top clue for me was 13d – You can read the surface for ages then remember that the usual problem is remembering the OR as an abreviation – now what does it stand for again?.
    Cheers Elkamere – this was an ace Tuesday. Thanks to BD for the review as well.

    • Posted November 15, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      Oh – and thanks for getting 5d into a puzzle!

  8. Posted November 15, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Good evening friends; thanks for your kind comments and to BD for a great blog as always. Yes, I think the fluffy slippers were on for this one, which made it an enjoyable challenge to set – of course, they won’t always be like this!
    I still giggle at the Anax + bass guitar pic in which I appear to be nutting the microphone. It was taken by a guy who usually snaps for the major newspapers and was provided f.o.c. – I didn’t have the nerve to ask him for another without the head-butting illusion. The gig was a fund raiser for Kinder Mountain Rescue at which Edwina Currie strutted her stuff to our music (it was in the run-up to her Strictly appearance) and we were amazed when, on (I think) her first appearance on the show, she danced to Build Me Up Buttercup. That was the song we’d just taken on to rehearse but didn’t have time to get ready in time for the gig.

    • Posted November 15, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      Hi Anax – it’s a good photo! You often get mistaken for Ronnie Wood?
      Nice puzzle too but don’t make them much harder! In your ‘Anax’ mode you are unfathomable to me!
      Thanks for today’s entertainment!

    • Posted November 15, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      P.S. But I keep trying!

  9. crypticsue
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    The question we all have to ask ourselves is did Vlad get his fluffy slippers back or will we have full-bore wicked glint Vlad the Impaler tomorrow? Can’t wait to find out. There was no wicked glint in Elgar’s eye when he told me his next puzzle would be on a Wednesday, which would indicate slippers but …. never take anything for granted.

    • Posted November 15, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, but you know he is also a pussycat really – hold that thought!

  10. Posted November 15, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    Ah! – just checked the 16d link – classic!