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Toughie 816

Toughie No 816 by Giovanni

The Age of Reason

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Even with a couple of scientific words which were new to me this is not a terribly difficult Toughie, but it does have some really good clues and I enjoyed it.
Let us know how you got on and please take the time to record your assessment of the puzzle by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

1a  Flower with interior unattractive, not half, and crinkly (6)
{RUGOSE} – an adjective meaning crinkly or wrinkled comes from inserting the first half of an adjective meaning unattractive into the interior of a flower (a real flower, not a river).

4a  Compound in which revolutionary leader seems to be self-absorbed! (8)
{PTOMAINE} – an eighteenth century English-born author, revolutionary, humanitarian and rational thinker who operated on both sides of the Atlantic has his abbreviated forename absorbed into his surname to make one of a group of amine compounds. Super clue!

9a  Female author’s shelf (6)
{MANTEL} – double definition, the author being Hilary the English novelist who won the Man Booker prize in 2009 for her novel about the early life of Thomas Cromwell (and who may well win it again for the recently-published sequel Bring Up the Bodies).

10a  Where one finds Italians beginning to sing song to drown noise (8)
{SARDINIA} – one will certainly find Italians on this island. Start with the beginning letter of S(ing) and add an operatic song containing (to drown) an unpleasant noise.

11a  Pull one into vigorous fight with determination (4,2,3)
{SLUG IT OUT} – this is a phrase meaning to fight with determination. Insert a verb to pull or drag heavily and I (one in Roman numerals) into an adjective meaning vigorous or steadfast.

13a  Legal officer’s housed here in Paris (5)
{LICIT} – the abbreviation for an army officer contains (housed) the French word for here.

14a  Batsman going up the order gets guard (5-8)
{NIGHT-WATCHMAN} – double definition (although the first was derived from the second). In cricket if a batsman is out just before the close of play a lower-order batsman may be sent in instead of the next player in the batting order, in order to see out the remaining balls and protect the better batsman until the next day (a tactic that often fails!).

17a  Soldier sent to Rhine with a pal, moving bits of equipment (13)
{PARAPHERNALIA} – start with the abbreviation for an airborne-soldier and follow this with an anagram (moving) of RHINE and A PAL to make miscellaneous bits of equipment.

21a  Gang of women, any number going after old British chap (5)
{COVEN} – a gang of women (the ideal number being thirteen) comes from an old British slang word for a chap with the letter used for any, unknown number following.

23a  Arachnid? A naturalist is put off, surprisingly (9)
{TARANTULA} – an anagram (surprisingly) of A NATURAL(is)T with the IS being removed.

24a  One may offer the ultimate in punishment in a term that becomes awful (8)
{MARTINET} – this is a semi-all-in-one. The answer, defined by the whole clue, is a strict disciplinarian. It’s an anagram (that becomes awful) of (punishmen)T IN A TERM.

25a  Notice army retreating behind hiding-place? (6)
{CAVEAT} – reverse (retreating) the abbreviation for our volunteer army after (behind) an example of a hiding-place to make a notice or formal warning.

26a  Rose is sweet (8)
{NOISETTE} – double definition – a hybrid rose and a nut-flavoured sweet.

27a  Modify tendency to fly off the handle (6)
{TEMPER} – another double definition, the first being a verb to modify or soften.

Down Clues

1d  Careless soldiers with assignments only 50% completed (6)
{REMISS} – the abbreviation for the Royal Engineers is followed by the first half of a word meaning assignments or military operations to make an adjective meaning careless or negligent.

2d  One moving one’s arms badly (9)
{GUNRUNNER} – cryptic definition, badly here meaning illegally.

3d  Wise Men were doing this to do this! (7)
{SEEKING} – what the biblical Wise Men were doing was with the aim of the same thing, but this time split (3,4).

5d  Problem about coach that gets fouled up with wet brown stuff (3-8)
{TEA-STRAINER} – a tricky problem or poser goes round a verb to coach to make a kitchen implement that gets fouled up with hot, wet brown stuff.

6d  Something heard on instrument that’s certainly a feature of concert (6,1)
{MIDDLE C} – a musical note is a feature of conCert.

7d  Greek bond may be this (5)
{IONIC} – double definition. A native of the islands off the west coast of Greece and the description of a type of chemical bond formed by electrostatic attraction (Please don’t ask me what this means!).

8d  Tough times with English pretending to be outsiders (8)
{EXACTING} – an adjective meaning tough or rigorous comes from the letter used as a multiplication sign (times) around which (to be outsiders) go E(nglish) and a present participle meaning pretending or shamming.

12d  Ray is this when becoming stray, destitute (2,3,6)
{ON THE STREET} – a phrase meaning destitute or homeless is literally what RAY is in the word STray.

15d  A supreme little university managed to meet the required standard (7,2)
{MEASURE UP} – a phrasal verb meaning to meet the required standard is an anagram (managed) of A SUPREME and the first letter (little) of U(niversity).

16d  Nasty mince pies one rejected as taster (8)
{SPECIMEN} – an anagram (nasty) of MINCE P(i)ES with one I (one) rejected produces a taster or sample.

18d  Thinking dear old lover should be got rid of (7)
{PENSIVE} – the surface here is quite amusing. An adjective meaning thinking or thoughtful comes from a synonym of dear (in the price sense) with the short word for an old lover dumped.

19d  Insecticide desperate man put down in row (7)
{LINDANE} – I didn’t know this word for a synthetic organochlorine insecticide but the wordplay is clear. Insert (put down in) the desperate man from the Dandy in a row or column.

20d  Singer is performer getting a bit confused initially about name (6)
{CANTOR} – this is an official singer in a synagogue or church. A stage or screen performer has his first two letters reversed (getting a bit confused initially) then that goes round N(ame).

22d  As composer, I had member of the clergy uplifted (5)
{VERDI} – string together the contracted form of ‘I had’ and the abbreviated title of a clergyman then reverse it all (uplifted, in a down clue) to reveal the name of an Italian composer.

I liked 3d, 5d and 8d today but my clue of the day is 4a. Let me know what grabbed your attention.

20 comments on “Toughie 816

  1. I enjoyed this one, as you say even the tricky ones were easily gettable. My main problem was caused by trying to spell 17a properly and writing it in the space for 14a. Once I had resoved that one. it all went in very nicely. I agree with Gazza’s ratings and favourites. Thanks to him and Giovanni too.

  2. Thanks to Giovanni for a very enjoyable crossword and to Gazza for the excellent review

  3. Really enjoyed this one, as always with this setter well scripted clueing, My favourites were 3d 8d 18d but the stand out has to be the brilliant 4a thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for the review.

  4. Good stuff as usual from the Don and no really obscure words. Enjoyed it.
    I had no problems with the scientific bits (sometimes it helps to have been a chemist!) and I had heard of the insecticide.

    Agree with the favourites.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

    PS Got bored with Polly Cotton so thought I’d have a change :grin:

    1. Very apropros for 5d!. I struggled on the author as I would have spelt the shelf as -LE without thinking. Thanks to Giovanni and gazza. I quite enjoyed this.

          1. But pommers isn’t a ‘screen name’. It’s simply what nearly eveyone (including pommette) calls me :grin: Started about 20 years ago when Brian (Johnners) Johnstone on TMS started calling the other commentators things like Aggers, Blowers etc. My mates started calling me pommers and it sort of stuck!

            I’ll be back on here as pommers tomorrow though!

            1. Is the sun that hot out there that you keep having these identity crises as result of a frazzled brain? Come inside now & I’ll get the nice nurse to give you a cooling bed bath…

              1. Well, everyone seems to like the Quckie puns so I thought, why not? Got a few more up my sleeve for later in the year. But yes, the sun is that hot. A cold shower beckons!

  5. A few tricky ones which were all gettable in an otherwise lenient, but agreeable puzzle.
    Thanks to Giovanni, and to Gazza.

  6. Thanks one and all. Curiously on Times for The Times (my puzzle today) there is a small whinge about lack of science!

  7. Thanks to Giovanni & to Big dave for the review and hints. Great, another Toughie that I enjoyed. As usual, super stuff from Giovanni. I needed half a dozen of Big Dave’s excellent hints to finish. I had never heard of 4 & 9 across, or the Physicist, so my horizon has been broadened. favourite was 17a.

  8. I’m no great fan of Giovanni. Too often it looks as though his grids are electronically filled in with any word that will fit, no matter how abstruse. That said, 4 across is a splendid clue

    1. I have said before that Giovanni’s view of a Toughie is to use normal wordplay but include words nobody has ever heard of! Must have spent a lot of time watching ‘Call My Bluff’ Not my favourite but today’s was pretty good IMHO.

      His back-pagers are great though.

  9. All went really well (although it really took me a lot of time and “perservation”) until I ground to a complete halt in the top right corner. I ended up with a few gaps – 4a – I’ve never heard of the compound, or the person – leave all that kind of stuff to eldest daughter! I also couldn’t do 7 or 8d. Oh, and just spotted another gap – 20d.
    I needed the hints to explain 14a and 12d.
    I felt slightly deflated when it only got 2* for difficulty – oh well, you can’t win ’em all!!
    I liked 1a (have Rosa Rugosa in the garden which is the only way I got the answer!) and17a, (even if I couldn’t spell it) and 18d.
    With thanks to Giovanni, and to gazza for explaining the bits that defeated me.

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