Toughie 760

Toughie No 760 by Kcit

Not Much Fizz

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment **

I know that it would be asking too much to expect a Dada or Micawber every day but, even so, I did find this one a bit flat with a distinct shortage of ‘penny drop’ moments. What we do have are lots of reversals and container/insertion type clues. I breezed through the top half then slowed up a bit towards the bottom.
A comment from you would, as always, be appreciated. It would also be good if you could take the time to click on one of the stars below to register how much you enjoyed it.

Across Clues

1a  Put on a ship, non-flier settles back (6)
{ ASSUME } – a verb meaning to put on or simulate comes from A, the usual abbreviation for ship and a non-flying bird reversed (settles back).

4a  Complete lager-drinker, say, chasing a lot of beer (3-3)
{ ALL-OUT } – the word associated with lager, especially by the red-tops, to describe a drunken hooligan follows another word for beer without its final E (a lot of) to make an adjective meaning complete or total.

8a  Slave backtracked when engaged in movement of coal outdoors (8)
{ ALFRESCO } – a medieval slave is reversed (backtracked) inside (engaged in) an anagram (movement) of COAL to make an adverb, from Italian, meaning outdoors or in the open air.

10a  People in attendance getting a first piece of unusual cake (6)
{ GATEAU } – the total number who went through the turnstiles is followed by A and the first piece of U(nusual).

11a  Line to enter attraction doubling back? Far too much (4)
{ GLUT } – L(ine) has to be inserted in a reversal (doubling back) of an attraction (like that exerted by gravity) to make a surplus or far too much.

12a  Girlfriend? We sat there, entwined (10)
{ SWEETHEART } – an anagram (entwined) of WE SAT THERE.

13a  Moisture expert arrived in wet, bedraggled (5,7)
{ WATER DIVINER } – someone able to detect moisture underground is an anagram (bedraggled) of ARRIVED IN WET.

16a  Our people backed scientists’ group engaging in prayer? An irrational attitude (12)
{ SUPERSTITION } – the definition here is an irrational attitude. Start with a reversal (backed) of how we refer to ourselves or our people, then insert the abbreviation for the scientists’ group that was founded in 1660 inside a prayer or appeal.

20a  Mean to block second conference item, taking one’s time? (4-6)
{ SLOW-MOTION } – insert (to block) a synonym for mean or sordid between S(econd) and a formal proposal at a conference.

21a  Barney returned money? That’s a fluke! (4)
{ WORM } – this fluke (the definition) is a parasite. Reverse a barney or argument and add M(oney).

22a  Abject, not special or generous (6)
{ LAVISH } – an adjective meaning abject or servile loses its initial S (not special).

23a  Big Ben’s twice this unreliable (3-5)
{ TWO-FACED } – the definition is unreliable or deceitful. Big Ben is twice this because it has four …

24a  Tenor left with unknown score (6)
{ TWENTY } – the definition is score. Start with T(enor) and add a verb meaning left and a mathematical unknown.

25a  Mole circling shelter, ready to go out (6)
{ SLEEPY } – a mole (the human rather than animal type) circles a word meaning shelter or the sheltered side.

Down Clues

1d  Associate cut short about Shakespearean hero’s message for those sheltering (3-5)
{ ALL-CLEAR } – this is a message indicating that the danger has passed (for those sheltering from an air raid, say). Drop the final Y (cut short) from an associate, then add a single-character abbreviation for about and one of Shakespeare’s eponymous heroes.

2d  Small amount of water to house river fish (5)
{ SPRAT } – a single drop (small amount) of water contains (to house) R(iver).

3d  Maltreated and overlooked when around University (7)
{ MISUSED } – the definition is maltreated. Put a synonym for overlooked or failed to notice around U(niversity).

5d  Reduce impact of disease, sending away first nurse (7)
{ LIGHTEN } – a verb to reduce the impact of something comes from a disease of plants without its first letter (sending away first) followed by one of the abbreviations for a qualified nurse (no longer used, I believe).

6d  Supported by article, left-winger’s in a row (2,3,4)
{ ON THE TROT } – this is an informal phrase meaning in a row or one after another without a break. It’s a charade of a) a preposition meaning supported by, b) a definite article and c) the abbreviation for a member of a left-wing movement.

7d  Source of drink’s curious nature (3,3)
{ TEA URN } – a rather obvious anagram (curious) of NATURE.

9d  No clarity on death a month after imprisoning writer and composer (4,7)
{ OPEN VERDICT } – this is the formal outcome of a coroner’s inquest where the cause of death has been unclear. An abbreviated month goes round (imprisoning) a writing implement and the Italian composer humorously referred to as Joe Green.

14d  Former language that’s gathered with translated Latin (9)
{ ERSTWHILE } – an adjective meaning former is formed from a word for the Gaelic language containing (has gathered) an anagram (translated) of WITH and L(atin).

15d  Drunkard swallowing cheese and last of fizzy wine does not enhance it (8)
{ SOBRIETY } – this is something that is not enhanced by the intake of wine. A word for a drunkard contains (swallowing) a soft cheese, then finish with the last letter of (fizz)Y.

17d  Forward with the revised source of forecast (7)
{ PROPHET } – a front-row forward is followed by an anagram (revised) of THE to make someone who is the source of a forecast.

18d  Struggle to wrap in fine metal wrapping? (7)
{ TINFOIL } – this metal wrapping comes from a verb to struggle or work hard containing (to wrap) IN and F(ine).

19d  Biddable one employed by factory (6)
{ PLIANT } – a description of someone who is biddable or easily influenced comes from a factory with I (one) inserted (employed?).

21d  Marine creature apparently having a good time? (5)
{ WHALE } – double definition, the second based on an expression for a hugely enjoyable time.

The clue I liked best today was 25a. How about you?


  1. Posted April 25, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    On the Toughie scale of difficulty I would award this one 1* – only momentarily held up by having TIMER as the second part of 23a. THanks to Kcit for allowing me enought time to the Guardian puzzle as well as the two DT puzzles before I started work and to Gazza for the blog – my favourite was 25a too – now there’s a surprise :)

    • Jezza
      Posted April 25, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      Ditto TIMER, until the ‘good time/Marine creature’….

      • Posted April 25, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        The good time/marine creature was a good one, wasn’t it?

      • Posted April 25, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        I initially had Timer also and justified it on the basis that Big Ben chimes four times an hour (although I did think that was a bit weak).

    • Kath
      Posted April 25, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

      As a complete toughie novice I’m hugely encouraged by the “greats” around here also having “timer” for the second bit of 23a. I justified it as being a clock. Unfortunately I didn’t spot the mistake until I finally got 21d … and then couldn’t think of anything else for 23a!

  2. Jezza
    Posted April 25, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    This one would probably be better suited to the back page. Thanks to Kcit, and gazza.

    • Kath
      Posted April 25, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

      … now feeling suitably deflated! :sad:

  3. Posted April 25, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I quite liked this one but agree it’s not really a Toughie. I think was probably quicker than I was with the back pager.

    Thanks to Kcit and Gazza.

  4. Joe 90
    Posted April 25, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    I must really be in the zone today……..both of ‘em cracked…….and no cheating…….heh heh……little jack horner vibe…….

  5. pegasus
    Posted April 25, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    I agree with most of the comments posted, favourites were 14d and 17d thanks to Kcit and to Gazza for the review.

  6. BigBoab
    Posted April 25, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Unlike all the clever people above, I found this to be a very enjoyable and reasonably difficult crossword, maybe on the simpler side of toughie but still worth the name. Thanks Kcit and Gazza.

  7. Kath
    Posted April 25, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    Oh good …. !

    • Kath
      Posted April 25, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

      Sorry – that was meant to be a reply to BigBoab with reference to his comment about it being worthy of the name “toughie”!

  8. Kath
    Posted April 25, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    OK – so it was an easy toughie! I’m still quite pleased to have almost finished it – got 23a wrong and didn’t spot it until I finally got my last one which was 21d. I needed the hints to explain 16a and 5d. The all day rain did, at least, give me lots of time to do this without feeling that I should be doing something else! With thanks to Kcit for boosting the toughie confidence and to gazza for explaining the bits that defeated me.

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