Toughie 713

Toughie No 713 by Giovanni

Not Abaddon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

This was trickier than your average Giovanni Toughie (but maybe not as tricky as the back page puzzle). It was an enjoyable puzzle and, as always with a Giovanni puzzle, the clues were perfectly fair. I did waste time trying to justify a couple of incorrect answers but eventually saw the light and inserted the correct answers.

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

1a    Message in hotel for female leaving — did Buttons run around? (2,3,7)
{ DO NOT DISTURB } A sign that a hotel guests might attach to the outside of the door of their room is given by an anagram (run around) of (F)OR DID BUTTONS, where (F) indicates that F (female) is to be ignored

9a    Sandwich containing egg — and dye! (4)
{ WOAD } A sandwich contains O (egg) to give a dye. The Ancient Britons never hit on anything as good as this to fit on

10a    Joy when bee’s invaded that plant (9)
{ EUPHORBIA } B (bee) goes inside (invades) joy to give a plant of the spurge genus

12a    New money that’s about to be issued first (6)
{ RECENT } ‘New’ = an American coin preceded by ‘about’

13a    Entertainment awards — masses one collected (8)
{ GRAMMIES } Music awards (corresponding to the cinema Oscars) are given by metric weights containing I (one)

15a    My holiness attracts males no end (8,2)
{ GOODNESS ME } ‘My!’ = holiness + males with the last letter missing

16a    Snooze audibly in break (4)
{ KNAP } I spent some time trying to justify the obvious word that fits here before deciding it had to be something less obvious. A homophone (audibly) of snooze gives ‘to break with a snapping noise’ or ‘to break (eg stones) in pieces with repeated blows’

18a    Tube is to be avoided, according to report (4)
{ DUCT } Another homophone (according to report). A tube is a word that sounds like ‘avoided’

20a    Forest officer that is surrounded by very large plantations (10)
{ ORANGERIES } A forest officer and IE (that is) inside an abbreviation denoting ‘very large’ gives places where fruit trees are grown

23a    Condemn banger being dumped by river (8)
{ EXECRATE } ‘To condemn’ = a banger (decrepit car) next to (following) a river in SW England

24a    A short day that’s about to end in several countries (6)
{ AFRICA } A + an abbreviation for a day of the week + ‘about’ = a continent

26a    Put under the influence of drug, showing bad reactions (9)
{ NARCOTISE } ‘Put under the influence of drug’ is an anagram (bad) of REACTIONS

27a    Given a hint when line’s forgotten? (4)
{ CUED } An all-in-one clue. The whole gives a definition for the word as used in the theatre. It can be derived from ‘given a hint (by a crossword setter)’ with L (line) omitted

28a    Wonderful period of play when there’s replacement? (12)
{ SUPERSESSION } ‘Wonderful’ + a period of time spent engaged in any one activity = ‘replacement’

Down

2d    One expecting to be collared for a special purpose (8)
[ ORDINAND ] A cryptic definition of someone who is training to become a minister of the church (and thus expecting to get a dog collar)

3d    ‘Ad aspirations to produce a newspaper article (2-2)
{ OP-ED } ‘Ad aspirations = a newspaper article printed op posite the ed itorial column

4d    Manners of French fellows taking little time to gulp drink (10)
{ DEPORTMENT } ‘Manners’ = the French word for ‘of’ + fellows + T (time) going round a fortified wine from Portugal

5d    Rumour going round firm ultimately not fair (6)
{ STORMY } A rumour goes round M (last letter of firm) to give ‘not fair (weatherwise)’

6d    In central Italy it’s as in the Lake District, but less cold (7)
{ UMBRIAN } ‘Of an area in central Italy’ = ‘of the county that contains the Lake District’ with C (cold) missing

7d    A special lab’s constructed for experimenter investigating pressure (6,6)
{ BLAISE PASCAL } An anagram (constructed) of A SPECIAL LAB’S gives the name of the French scientist after whom the SI unit of pressure is named

8d    Boss only half truthful leading company, hard to get nailed (6)
{ HONCHO } A US slang term for a boss = the first half of a six-letter word meaning ‘truthful’ + the abbreviation for company round H (hard)

11d    Attempt falls short with old actor ignoring fine actresses (12)
{ TRAGEDIENNES } An attempt (3) with the last letter removed + old (4) + the surname of an English actor (7) with F (fine) removed = actresses not noted for their comic roles

14d    Rambling rectories in which one’s found a type of desk (10)
{ ESCRITOIRES } An anagram (rambling) of RECTORIES goes round I (one) to give a writing desk. My first answer to this didn’t quite fit the anagram and had to be abandoned

17d    Cigar that shows no ellipticity whatever (8)
{ PERFECTO } A large tapering cigar (which I’d never heard of) describes a circle (O) which shows no ellipticity whatsoever

19d    Child gets soup knocked over? Try to smile! (5,2)
{ CHEER UP } CH (child) + a reversal of a soup without solid pieces = ‘Try to smile’

21d    Plants one gets out of bed (6)
{ IRISES } Plants with large showy flowers + I (one) + ‘gets out of bed’

22d    Mail? Telegraph’s showing superior power! (6)
{ ARMOUR } Mail (to protect the body) = a possessive pronoun (belonging to us, i.e. Telegraph’s) preceded by power

25d    Where horses may have been making animal noises (4)
{ MEWS } 2 meanings: a street or yard of stabling for horses/noises made by cats

Thursday’s are looking up

14 Comments

  1. Posted February 2, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Too many obscure references for me to be able to finish this without Bufo’s help but at least I’ve learned a few new words, so thanks to Giovanni for that.

    • SpikeyMikey
      Posted February 2, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      Same here for me – what with todays cryptic and this I feel brain fried today :-) Good to have learned some new stuff today – onwards and upwards….. Thanks to Bufo for the excellent hints and tips. Time for a nap before GCSE revision with eldest daughter!

  2. Jezza
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Apart from writing in ‘blot’ for 9a, which caused me a few problems, the rest went in without too much of a struggle.
    Thanks to Giovanni for an enjoyable puzzle, and to Bufo for the review.

  3. BigBoab
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Like Jezza, I had put blot in at 9a, however once sorted I found it to be a reasonably straightforward and very enjoyable toughit. My thanks to Giovanni and to Bufo for the excellent review. ( your answer to 14d still doesn’t quite fit, you have added an extra s )

  4. crypticsue
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    I had no trouble with 9a as son no 1 has been experimenting with making dye from it lately so there are blue splodges all over the utility room! Quite tricky for a Giovanni I thought, definitely agree with Bufo’s 4* ratings. Thanks to Giovanni and Bufo.

    As it is Elgar tomorrow, I recommend we all rest our cryptic grey matter in the darkened room this evening so we are ready for whatever footwear he happens to be wearing in the morning.

    • Posted February 2, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      Do you mean Elgar is on toughie duty tomorrow? If so then I don’t think I’ll venture this way again until I’ve got a rolled up copy of the review in my back pocket. The darkened room beckons as we speak…

      • Posted February 2, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        Tilsit will be recovering from today’s op, so Jon88 will be subbing for him again. The review should be available fairly early as he will write it during what is to him Thursday evening (the early hours of Friday morning for us).

        • Posted February 2, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

          Best wishes to Tilsit if you have contact with him.

      • Posted February 2, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        Strange coincidence that today’s setters will be swapping places tomorrow!

  5. Prolixic
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Either the back page boosted my solving time or I hit Giovanni’s wavelength very quickly but I thought this was not too difficult and took more or less the same time as the back page. Highly enjoyable and satisfying to see the wordplay unfolding.

    Thansk to Giovanni and to Bufo for the review.

  6. Giovanni
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the nice feedback and glad people enjoyed it. (For what it’s worth I went through the back-page puzzle like a knife through butter. Clues with long answers often yield answers long before you’ve analysed them and the possibility of WATER together with the definition meant that I had a big fill-in early on. Was everyone else afraid?)

    • Franco
      Posted February 2, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      Nice to see the setters contributing and also being critical about their fellow setters!

  7. Giovanni
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Wasn’t being critical of fellow-setter at all! It was a nice back-page puzzle, even if it might have been harder than mine for many

  8. pegasus
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    Good fare on offer today, cleverly scripted cluing of which favourites were 8d 15a and 17d thanks to Giovanni and to Bufo.