Toughie 788

Toughie No 788 by Giovanni

Flavour of the Fifties

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

We have an entertaining puzzle from Giovanni, probably not too difficult if (like me) you can remember the 1950s. Let us know how you got on with it.

Across Clues

9a  African’s exclamation of surprise when reaching America (5)
{HAUSA} – this is a member of an ethnic group from West Africa. An exclamation of surprise is followed by the abbreviation for the United States.

10a  Worm made otter sick (9)
{TREMATODE} – an anagram (sick) of MADE OTTER gives us a parasitic flatworm which is a frequent visitor in Crosswordland.

11a  Seen as having nothing over 18? (7)
{NOTICED} – the definition is seen, but if split (3,4) it means that yet more sickly stuff hasn’t been layered on a cake on top of the revolting paste from 18d.

12a  Guide wasting attendant’s time (7)
{COURIER} – start with an attendant at a royal palace and pluck out (wasting) the T(ime) to leave the sort of guide who accompanies groups of tourists.

13a  Time to get old pop singer Paul to render a poem (5)
{TANKA} – T(ime) followed by the surname of the Canadian pop singer Paul (whose career peaked in the late 1950s) produces a Japanese poem of five lines and thirty-one syllables.

14a  Befuddled, can I still sparkle? (9)
{SCINTILLA} – an anagram (befuddled) of CAN I STILL makes a tiny spark.

16a  Determination to get this writer’s love on account of passion being endless for yesteryear’s top man (7,2,6)
{WILLIAM OF ORANGE} – this is the ruler who became ‘top man’ in Britain after the Glorious Revolution of 1689. Join together a) a synonym for determination or resolve, b) ‘this writer’s’ put into the first person and expanded, c) the letter used for zero or love, d) a preposition meaning on account of and, finally e) passion without its final letter (being endless).

19a  Track that consists of din fronted by singer Johnny (6,3)
{ROTTEN ROW} – this is a track used by equestrians in London’s Hyde Park. It’s a din or racket preceded (fronted by) the surname of the lead singer of the Sex Pistols. The whole clue could also be a perceptive comment about any of their records.

21a  Tackle publican outside front of inn (5)
{HOIST} – this is the sort of tackle used to lift heavy weights. A publican contains the first letter of I(nn).

23a  Look (I leer naughtily) — seductive female! (7)
{LORELEI} – an injunction to look is followed by an anagram (naughtily) of I LEER to make the female siren who is said to have lured sailors to their doom on the rocks in the river Rhine.

25a  Party female (beastly type) hugged by soldiers turning up (7)
{SHINDIG} – an informal name for a party or knees-up comes from a female animal surrounded by the abbreviation for US soldiers reversed (turning up). I’m not keen on turning up as a reversal indicator in an across clue.

27a  Possibly ‘Attic’? Yes, that’s originally what Athens was! (4,5)
{CITY STATE} – what Athens was in ancient Greece is an anagram (possibly) of ATTIC YES and the first letter (originally) of T(hat’s).

28a  Wines can produce violent impact, first to last (5)
{HOCKS} – start with a violent impact and move the first letter to the end (first to last) to make white wines from the area where 23a comes from.

Down Clues

1d  Accident in pile-up — inadequate attention! (4)
{SHUN} – an informal word for a coming-together of vehicles in a pile-up loses its final T (inadequate) to leave a shouted command for attention on the parade ground.

2d  Get very hot before coming in for drink (6)
{BURTON} – this is an informal word for alcoholic drink (derived from the name of a town on the river Trent where a lot of beer used to be brewed and some still is). A verb to get very hot has a preposition meaning before (in telling the time, for example) inserted.

3d  Provide nasty arsenic and tea must be kept very sweet! (10)
{SACCHARINE} – an adjective meaning excessively sweet comes from an anagram (nasty) of ARSENIC with an informal word for tea inserted (kept).

4d  A post-war screen actor’s in conflict (2,4)
{AT ODDS} – a phrase meaning in conflict is built from A, the surname of a British screen actor in the post-war years (probably best remembered for his portrayal of Guy Gibson in the 1954 film The Dam Busters) and the ‘S from the clue.

5d  Spreading fire — heck, get a covering cloth! (8)
{KERCHIEF} – a square piece of cloth used to cover the head comes from an anagram (spreading) of FIRE HECK.

6d  An objection? When time’s up it’s forbidden (4)
{TABU} – start with an objection (1,3) and move the final T from last to first (time’s up).

7d  Soup something to be thankful for? Inside you finally may get sick! (8)
{BOUILLON} – this is a French word for a sort of broth or beef tea. A blessing or favour (the sort that King Arthur’s knights were always craving) has the final letter of (yo)U and an adjective meaning sick inserted.

8d  Soldiers in back position with dull uniform finish getting new weapons (10)
{REARMAMENT} – non-commissioned soldiers are inserted in words for the back position and a dull uniform finish.

13d  Building to secure in which tea is stacked up (5,5)
{TOWER BLOCK} – a synonym for to secure (2,4) has an informal word for a drink of tea reversed (stacked up) inside.

15d  Form of illumination to one side outside church hall’s rear end (10)
{TORCHLIGHT} – to get this form of illumination put TO and one side around (outside) the abbreviation for church and the rear end of (hal)L.

17d  Clay in ceremony associated with deceased (8)
{LATERITE} – I’d never heard of this word so I’ll give you Chambers’ definition: a clay formed by weathering of rocks in a tropical climate, composed mainly of iron and aluminium hydroxides. Cryptically it could be (4,4) a ceremony for the deceased.

18d  Artist with inner energy, fellow carrying that paste (8)
{MARZIPAN} – the usual abbreviation for artist has an informal word for energy or vigour inserted (inner), then all that is contained in a synonym of fellow. The result is a sickly almond paste smeared on an otherwise perfectly good cake.

20d  Ring the female when beset by conflict (6)
{WASHER} – a female pronoun is surrounded (beset) by armed conflict to make a ring often used in conjunction with a nut and bolt.

22d  Bring on pub drink maybe for audience (6)
{INDUCE} – a verb meaning to bring on (a birth, perhaps) is composed of homophones (worthy of the Quick Crossword pun!) of a synonym for pub and a non-alcoholic drink.

24d  Most unlikely to be the sole support? (4)
{LAST} – an adjective meaning most unlikely or least appropriate is also, cryptically, what a cobbler may use to support a sole on.

26d  Spare fuel supplied to hospital (4)
{GASH} – a slang word meaning spare or extra comes from a fuel followed by H(ospital).

I liked 2d and 20d today but by far my favourite clue was 19a. Let us know what you enjoyed.


  1. crypticsue
    Posted June 13, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable even though the NW corner put up a fight and I misread the anagram at 10a and tried to put in a nematode. Thanks to both the Gs.

  2. Jezza
    Posted June 13, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    I found this one a bit of a slog today, and gave up with half a dozen left. No complaints about the puzzle, just too tricky for me to finish.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to Gazza.

    • crypticsue
      Posted June 13, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      It is obviously because you are far too young!

      • Jezza
        Posted June 13, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        ……. and absolutely nothing to do with my crossword solving ineptness. :)

  3. Pegasus
    Posted June 13, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed this one, I also remember the fifties which helped a little, favourites were 2d 4d 19a and 22d thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for the review.

  4. Prolixic
    Posted June 13, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Having put GOSHA for 1a, a tribe in Africa that fulfils the wordplay, no wonder I could not complete the NW corner :(

    • gnomethang
      Posted June 13, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

      My problem too Mr P! I struck out in the NW and moved on to the Times. THe rest of the puzzle was quite fun and sorted quite quickly. Personally I prefer Mr Manley’s back pagers and puzzles eslewhere to his Toughies as I find them a bit ‘cluttered’ but this was a pleasant exception.

  5. beaver
    Posted June 13, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Been doing the ‘toughie’- or trying to, for a while now after the ‘back’ page with varying success.Solved 2 last week and nearly did this till i finally accepted defeat in the nw corner.Have heard of gone for a burton,but did’nt realise it had anything to do with beer till i checked wickipedia-never heard of hausa or tanka so did’nt feel too bad when i used your blog hints to finish it.-maybe tomorrow…

  6. Brenda Reding
    Posted June 13, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Quite enjoyed this one but needed hints to finish, at least the clues made sense and the anagrams helped a lot, I could not do the Toughies at all a little while ago so I do get a “satisfaction” feel when I manage to solve a useful number. Thank you to the two G’s for today’s offering

  7. gnomethang
    Posted June 13, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    NW was my failing point as well today. Thanks to Giovanni and to gazza.

  8. andy
    Posted June 13, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    Getting seriously annoyed with posting, my posts get an error message so if gazza and giovanni see this thank you both very much, 19a super