Toughie 767

Toughie No 767 by Warbler

George, Harris and Jerome (To Say Nothing of Montmorency)

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

I’m not used to getting puzzles this good on a Tuesday! This was a real tour de force from Warbler – with a number of traps for the unwary (me!) in clues like 11a, 14a and 17d, to name but three.

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    Once developed, photos of their home oddly tell it like it is (5,4,3,3)
{SHOOT FROM THE HIP} – an anagram (once developed) of PHOTOS OF THEIR and the odd letters of HoMe gives a phrase meaning to tell it like it is

9a    When tense skier stumbles, beginning to see stars (9)
{ASTERISKS} – start with a two-letter word meaning when, then add T(ense), an anagram (stumbles) of SKIER and the initial letter (beginning) of See to get these stars

10a    Revolutionary group looked after Democrat’s advancement (5)
{CADRE} – to get this Revolutionary group start with a verb meaning looked after and then move (advancement) the D(emocrat) two paces to the left

11a    Subject of Belgian city (5)
{LIEGE} – a double definition – a Subject or loyal vassal and a Belgian city

12a    During WW2 US help tennis star needing rest (4-5)
{LEND-LEASE} – the help given to the UK by the US during WW2 comes from a former Czech tennis start followed by a verb meaning to rest

13a    Wards for the elderly generally encourage socialising in the first instance (8)
{PROTÉGÉS) – these wards or people who are guided and supported by an older and more experienced person are built up from a word meaning for followed by the initial letters (in the first instance) of five words in the clue

14a    A whatsit with its top missing is worthless (6)
{ABJECT} – the A from the clue is followed by a whatsit without its initial O (with its top missing) to get an adjective meaning worthless

16a    Manoeuvre of switching parts in signalling system (6)
{TACTIC} – this manoeuvre is created by switching the two parts of a signalling system used by racecourse bookmakers to exchange information

18a    Housing motorists in old boats (8)
{BARRACKS} – to get this military housing put the three-letter acronym for a motoring organisation inside the alternative spelling of some old three-masted vessels

22a    Arty group writhing in intense discomfort (9)
{PURGATORY} – an anagram ()writhing of arty group gives this intense discomfort or mental anguish

23a    Long, long time before end of recession (5)
{YEARN} – to get this verb meaning to long put a long period of time in front of the final letter (end) of recessioN

24a    On reflection monogamist enjoys a perfect state (5)
{IMAGO} – hidden inside (enjoys) and reversed (on reflection) inside the clue is the last or perfect stage of an insect’s development

25a    Set free with loss of name and power, simply wasted away (9)
{EMACIATED} – start with a word meaning set free, particularly applied to slaves who had been freed, and drop the N(ame) and P(ower) to get a word meaning simply wasted away

26a    Choose eccentric German to initially implement curriculum of branch of science (15)
{ELECTROMAGNETIC} – a verb meaning to choose a representative is followed by an anagram (eccentric) of GERMAN and the initial letters of two of the words in the clue to get an adjective meaning of a particular branch of science

Down

1d    Seafood special briefly cooked in local? Just the opposite! (7)
{SCALLOP} – this seafood doesn’t come from “special briefly” cooked in “local”, but LOCAL cooked in SP(ecial)

2d    Without money in April, maybe I will be very busy (2,3,2)
{ON THE GO} – start with the period of time of which April is an example (maybe), drop the M(oney) and add the I or conscious self to get a phrase meaning very busy

3d    Novel representation of a Royal deanship? (5,3,2,1,4)
{THREE MEN IN A BOAT} – I got stuck on the wordplay for this one for quite a while and needed some help! – this novel by Jerome K Jerome is represented by A( ROY, AL, DEAN) SHIP – very clever and certainly my clue of the day

4d    Determined to decipher old verse (8)
{RESOLVED} – this verb meaning determined or fixed comes from an anagram (decipher) of OLD VERSE

5d    Mother’s offspring becoming secret society members (6)
{MASONS} – split as (2,4) this could be mother and her offspring, but it’s actually members of a secret society of trouser roll-uppers

6d    Revolutionary French bury link with English inside adventure story (11,4)
{HUCKLEBERRY FINN} – an anagram (revolutionary) of FRENCH BURY LINK around E(nglish) gives a classic adventure story

7d    Hard yet malleable? Add water (7)
{HYDRATE} – an anagram (malleable) of HARD YET gives a verb meaning to add water

8d    Quietly send another message by way of excuse (7)
{PRETEXT} – the musical notation for quietly is followed by a verb meaning to send another SMS message to give an excuse

15d    Youth’s silence constraining unknown amateur entertainer (4,4)
{LADY GAGA} – put a youth and a verb meaning to silence around a mathematical unknown the add A(mateur) to get an over-hyped entertainer – what do you call a singing dog?

16d    Slices head off fish to get lean cut (7)
{TOPSIDE} – a charade of a verb meaning slices the head off and a fish only ever seen these days in the Crosswordsea gives a lean cut of meat

17d    Worry about money almost brings ruin (7)
{CARCASE} – put a worry around most of some money to get this ruin – I spent a while trying to make NAG into some money, but it was the wrong answer anyway!

19d    Blackbird’s a flier? (4,3)
{COAL TIT} – combine the black stuff and a bird to get another bird

20d    Dons scrapped over year in charge of church council (7)
{SYNODIC} – put an anagram (scrapped) of DONS around Y(ear) and add the abbreviation of “in charge” to get an adjective meaning of a church council

21d    Type of dance jacket (6)
{BOLERO} – a double definition – a type of dance and a jacket that doesn’t reach the waist nor meet in the front

An excellent puzzle that brightened my morning.

40 Comments

  1. Father Brian
    Posted May 8, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Fully in agreement, superb puzzle, all the better for having completed it totally unaided!

  2. Jezza
    Posted May 8, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Excellent puzzle! I also spent some time trying to make NAG? into money in 17d.
    Many thanks to Warbler ( you are definitely one of my favourite toughie setters), and to BD for the notes.

  3. Jill Besterman
    Posted May 8, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Whew – that was a really good work-out ! I had the morning off and could give it a go. I stuck on 16d, got “topside” from the letters but couldn’t match it to the clue so omitted it.
    Thank you to Warbler (and Big Dave) for getting the little grey cells going.

  4. iSkiapod
    Posted May 8, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Not often I get to complete a puzzle without some help from here, but this was one of my quickest. Am I getting better at these?

    I love the fact that you gave this 4 difficulty stars (Makes me feel VERY good :) ) and yet I had very few problems getting the answers, just understanding them. The answers to 2 and 3d were fairly obvious, but I couldn’t work out why unttil I read your notes. Thanks

    5/5 for enjoyment

    • Posted May 8, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      My difficulty rating includes the confirmation of the wordplay! If you had just guessed you might, for example, have put carnage in for 17 down. The puzzle is incomplete until the fat lady sings!

  5. lizwhiz1
    Posted May 8, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Feel quite proud of myself. I completed this with electronic help and only got stuck on 20d ( many thanks for the help but I would never have got that!!). Would never have attempted it if I had looked at your difficulty score- The crossword website gave it 2* so I had a go! :)

  6. BigBoab
    Posted May 8, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Cracker of a crossword from Warbler, the only problem I had was 12a. Many thanks to Warbler and to BD for the review.

  7. crypticsue
    Posted May 8, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    A proper Toughie and very enjoyable too. I am in the ‘nag’ in 17d crew too. The top half went in quicker than the bottom for some reason and like BD I didn’t get the wordplay of 3d at all. Thanks to him for the explanations and to Warbler for a very nice Toughie too.

  8. Colmce
    Posted May 8, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Don’t often get a paper paper, so this was my first Toughie.

    Enjoyed it greatly and completed without recourse to hints, but did use some electrics.

    Odd things difficulty ratings, I found this one both easier and far more enjoyable than the back page.

    Thanks to BD, and to Warbler for a splendid puzzle which restored my confidence after my dismal performance first thing.

  9. Prolixic
    Posted May 8, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Highly enjoyable and some cracking clues to savour. Brightened up my train journey no end. Thanks to Warbler and to BD for the review.

  10. Joe 90
    Posted May 8, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    I found this a breeze……must have been in the zone again…….

    • Posted May 8, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      It was only a breeze if you worked out the wordplay for 3 down – that took me ages and affected the difficulty rating!

      • gnomethang
        Posted May 8, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

        Yep! – That was easy to write in but with sored the shins when the wordplay was uncovered!

    • Franco
      Posted May 8, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      A breeze? Not for me. Even the chaps on AnswerBank could not provide the explanation for 3d.

      I admit defeat! Warbler won!

  11. Peter Barwich
    Posted May 8, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Not sure if this is the place to put it, but I’ve just noticed the “new site” claim. Unfortunately I now cannot read it on my mobile device (blackberry), whereas before a simpler version was sent back to smartphones and the like. Will this capability be re-introduced?

    • Posted May 8, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Peter

      I have moved the site away from WordPress.com on to a self-hosing facility so it is not possible to restore the old one.

      The mobile theme is meant to work on BlackBerry OS6 mobiles. At least one Blackberry user has reported that it is actually running better than on the old theme.

      http://bigdave44.com/2012/05/07/dt-26859/#comment-106351

      • Peter Barwich
        Posted May 8, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I have version 6 of the OS. The former site appeared to automagically “know” what sort of machine was connecting. Do I have to do something different to get the mobile theme?

        • Posted May 8, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

          I thought it was automatic. If the heading says “Big Dave’s Mobile Crossword Blog” then you are using the new theme. If not, look for an on-off toggle switch. I don’t have access to a Blackberry, so don’t know where it might be – try the footer.

          • Peter Barwich
            Posted May 8, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

            The word ‘mobile’ is not there in the heading, and I can’t see any on/off toggle. Don’t worry too much about it, and thanks for your time.

            • Posted May 8, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

              I found this from the developer:

              WPtouch supports a limited number of Blackberries, namely the Torch and Storm.

            • Posted May 8, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

              … and this:

              Well, what if my users don’t like it and want to see my regular site?

              There’s a theme switch in the footer area of WPtouch for your visitors to easily switch between the WPtouch view and your site’s regular appearance.

              We even automatically put a little snippet of code into your current desktop theme which will be shown only to iPhone, iPod touch, Android or BlackBerry touch mobile device visitors, giving them control to switch between the two themes easily.

              • Peter Barwich
                Posted May 8, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

                That’s it then, I have the blackberry curve 9300, and it appears the developer only catered for touch-screen versions (torch and storm). Furthermore the fact that I can’t see the theme switcher is deliberate, only touch-screen devices can see it. I only got the phone in April last year and already it’s obsolete and not supported! That’s progress I guess…

                Ah well…

              • Peter Barwich
                Posted May 8, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

                Oh, and of course, I should have said many thanks to BD for getting to the bottom of this.

                Thank you.

  12. Posted May 8, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    The whole point of a crossword is that it should be solvable AND enjoyable.
    Thanks for your comments. For once I seem to have achieved both aims!

    • Prolixic
      Posted May 8, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      What do you mean “for once” – they are always solvable and enjoyable.

      • crypticsue
        Posted May 8, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

        Hear hear

    • Franco
      Posted May 8, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      Always very enjoyable! I look forward to the day when I can solve one.

      • gnomethang
        Posted May 8, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

        Franco, I think that I speak for most when I suggest that this has been one of Warbler’s tougher Toughies. Personally I stalled on at least 6 before solving and then understanding for a long time. Equally, many of Warbler’s puzzles are on the more straightforward side in terms of wordplay but no less satisfying to solve (Particularly some of the themed reference (cake!) sorts)
        I still find them both fun and also a good introduction to the ‘Toughie ‘ elements of the DT – Well worth checking against your grid.

        g’night!

    • andy
      Posted May 8, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      Echo Prolixic and CSue, always at least 4 / 5 enjoyment for me

    • gnomethang
      Posted May 8, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      Agreed – Top puzzle! Many Thanks!.

  13. beaver
    Posted May 8, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Don’t usually try the ‘toughie’ but had time left after the back page cryptic, Agee with other solvers that this was a relatively straightforward puzzle, gave it ***/**** as very enjoyable-liked16a and 16d, good start to the week-thanks for the wordplay in 3d as i could’nt work this out.

  14. andy
    Posted May 8, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Very very nearly feel for the NAG, and in, haste using the checking letters for 24a used the word “state” as the indicator, until re-reading and saw the error of my ways. 3d was only parsed despite having all the checking letters by reciting it over and over, splitting the words everyway known to mankind! Brilliant. Sat on stupid step because I don’t understand the preamble “Montmorency” Warbler many thanks for this and BD as ever

    • crypticsue
      Posted May 8, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      If anyone should know who Montmorency is, surely it should be you… a name for your next ‘life saver’ perhaps? :D

      • andy
        Posted May 8, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

        oh for heavens… could only think of a place in Quebec, big big d’oh!!

  15. gnomethang
    Posted May 8, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Warbler – It took me a while to get the last 5 or so and thoroughly enjoyed the Penny Drop Moments as I did – Last in was 12a and it was also my favourite! Thanks to BD for the review and teh confirmation of my suspicions!

  16. crypticsue
    Posted May 8, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    Elkamere tomorrow – I hope he doesn’t require a darkened room like today’s Anax did as I will be back in the office :) or even :(

    • andy
      Posted May 8, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

      hopefully some 25a and I don’t 9a too much.

    • gnomethang
      Posted May 8, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

      Hmmm! Less than half way through tody’s but I didn’t have much time. Still on the back-burner.