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Toughie 844

Toughie No 844 by Giovanni

Hints and Tips by Gazza

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

I came across a new ‘portmanteau’ word the other day – Investigoogle – this is a verb describing a detective using the internet to do research on a crime. I had to look up several answers in Chambers today because there were a few words I didn’t know, but Giovanni is pretty good at making the wordplay relatively simple for unusual words so I don’t think that the unknown words made the puzzle overly difficult – and I did enjoy the challenge.
Let us know how you fared and please click on one of the stars below to rate the puzzle for enjoyment.

Across Clues

1a  A ‘monsieur’ (not English) read in translation ? (5,7)
{ANDRÉ MAUROIS} – an all-in-one clue. This French writer has been extensively translated into English. His name is an anagram (in translation) of A MONSI(e)UR READ.

9a  Compact art form given a change of direction (4)
{FIRM} – start with a visual art form and change the L(eft) to R(ight).

10a  One prominent feature in British Academy — not the stuff for ordinary mugs (4,5)
{BONE CHINA} – insert ONE and a prominent facial feature into the abbreviation for British Academy.

12a  Ham? Party has too much to begin with (6)
{OVERDO} – ham is a verb here. The usual festive party is preceded (to begin with) by an adverb meaning too much or left unused.

13a  Finds much amusement with old Arabs in college? (3,1,4)
{HAS A BALL} – the people of an ancient kingdom which existed more or less where Yemen is today go inside the main building of a college (where meals are taken) which is sometimes used to mean the college itself.

15a  Cross-dresser has upset nun already (5,2,3)
{DANNY LA RUE} – a drag artist born with the much less exotic name of Daniel Carroll is an anagram (upset) of NUN ALREADY.

16a  Philosopher offers jargon for the audience (4)
{KANT} – this German philosopher’s surname sounds like (for the audience) the language used by a specific group or profession.

18a  Pitch is where it should happen (4)
{TOSS} – double definition, the second referring to the pre-match ritual (which normally takes place on the pitch) to determine which cricket team will bat first.

20a  A policy to have 50% of kids injected with a hormone (10)
{ADRENALINE} – A and a policy or stance surround (have … injected) the second half of a more formal word for kids plus A.

23a  Mathematical chart has number attached to cat and sheep (8)
{NOMOGRAM} – string together an abbreviation for number, a slang word for a domestic cat and a male sheep.

24a  Record-holder‘s short rest before historic victory (6)
{SLEEVE} – I suppose a record-holder these days might be an I-pod, but what we want is one from an earlier age. A rest without its final P precedes the abbreviation for a historic victory formally celebrated in Britain on the 8th of May 1945.

26a  Worker given discharge, twitching where it’s very cold (9)
{ANTARCTIC} – a charade of a) the usual industrious insect, b) a luminous electrical discharge between two electrodes and c) a nervous twitching.

27a  Transport condition is indicated by this finally (4)
{SHIP} – double definition, the second indicating that words ending with this suffix often denote a condition or state (the state of being a friend, for example).

28a  I worried about body of people being uprooted (12)
{DERACINATION} – start by reversing (about) another way of saying ‘I worried’ or ‘I was concerned’ then add a body of people united by common descent, history or language and  inhabiting a particular territory.

Down Clues

2d  Deans may get drunk when church remembers its saints (4,4)
{NAME DAYS} – an anagram (get drunk) of DEANS MAY.

3d  Examine topless dress (4)
{ROBE} – a verb to examine or explore loses its top letter. Can I resist the temptation? Of course not – here’s a possibly unwise choice for a wedding dress.

4d  Bloke entertains duke coming in to give orders (10)
{MANDAMUSES} – this is a legal term for orders imposed by a higher court on a lower one. A more formal word for bloke is followed by a verb meaning entertains or makes someone laugh, then D(uke) is inserted (coming in).

5d  Call nude ‘silly’ having no bottoms on, exposing everything? (6)
{UNCLAD} – an anagram (silly) of CAL(L) and NUD(e) without their bottom letters.

6d  Old relations not at home in Scotland — foreign island looked for (7)
{OKINAWA} – this is a Japanese island (the site of a significant battle in WWII). String together O(ld), a synonym for family or relations and a Scottish adverb meaning not at home.

7d  Disease? There’s mark left unfortunately, always (7,5)
{SCARLET FEVER} – bring together a residual mark on the skin, an anagram (unfortunately) of LEFT and a synonym for always.

8d  One unlikely to fly over a long time? Yes and no maybe! (6)
{PIGEON} – the end result here is something that could, maybe, be a long-distance flier. Start with something that definitely can’t fly (and which features in an expression stressing the unlikelihood of something happening) and follow this (over, in a down clue) with a very long period of time. I don’t fully understand the last three words of the clue; the ‘no maybe’ could be indicating that only certain breeds of this creature can sustain long flight. Do you have a better explanation?

11d  What would offer an element of reliability? (4,8)
{GOLD STANDARD} – cryptic definition of something of a very high, consistent quality against which other things may be compared. The element involved is a yellow precious metal.

14d  Bird hurting without tail and restricted (10)
{SANDMARTIN} – this is a small bird (which Chambers has as two words (4,6)). A present participle meaning hurting or stinging loses its final G (without tail) and has AND inserted (restricted).

17d  Satellite still moving in (roughly) a circle (8)
{CALLISTO} – this is one of the satellites of Jupiter. An anagram (moving) of STILL is placed between the two-letter abbreviation for roughly or approximately and a circular letter.

19d  Wicketkeeper lets tons drop — one expected to take loads (7)
{SUMPTER} – I’d never heard of this old word for a packhorse or mule, but the wordplay makes it easy to find. Start with another word for wicketkeeper and move the T down a bit (lets tons drop).

21d  Plant is submerged under Italian river with the passing of time (6)
{IBERIS} – another new word for me – this is another name for a plant like the candytuft (I’ve never heard of that either!). IS gets positioned after (submerged, in a down clue) the river of Rome without its initial T (with the passing of time).

22d  Fungus in food briefly stored under stove (6)
{AGARIC} – a staple food without its final E (briefly) follows (stored under) the proprietary name for a type of stove.

25d  Tail spy, missing nothing (4)
{SCUT} – someone sent ahead of a main force to spy out the strength and disposition of the enemy loses the letter that looks like zero.

The clues I liked best today were 1a, 10a, 15a and 24a. Let us know what you liked.


13 comments on “Toughie 844

  1. How I wish I had just gone straight to the comment box and not scrolled down the illustrated explanations first :D

    I enjoyed this one but there did seem to be an inordinate amount of investigoogling required – as you say, clear wordplay but then you have to check the item in question exists.

    Thanks to Gazza and Giovanni – in addition to those mentioned by gazza I quite liked 18a too.

  2. I would have awarded the back-page puzzle 1* for difficulty today. This one took me approximately 8 times longer to complete…..
    Thanks to Giovanni for the education, and to Gazza for the review.

  3. I found this extremely difficult with a lot of new (to me ) words, I needed your hints for several clues, something I’ve never needed with a Giovanni crossword before. Thanks to Giovanni for stretching me beyond my limit and thanks to Gazza for the very entertainig review.

  4. Gazza your parsing of 8d is correct the pigeon that only flies a short distance in certain races is known as a shortie. Enjoyed todays puzzle favourites were 1a 14d 19d and 24a thanks to Giovanni also to Gazza for a splendid review.

      1. I wonder if ‘Yes and no maybe!’ refers to the expression ‘…And pigs may fly!’ meaning something that’s ironically considered a possibility, but is actually impossible, as the speaker knows.

        Also, a pig can’t fly, but a carrier pigeon can fly often considerable distances. So another ‘Yes and no.’

  5. Re:19d – i think the word may have been used in one of the “Sharpe” books by Bernard Cornwell but there again I may have imagined it.

    Also I remember seeing the illustration at 3d before and couldn’t help thinking what the bride’s MIL was thinking at the time (I can probably guess what her FIL was thinking…… something on the lines of good work that boy!)

  6. I found this difficult – lots of words that I’d never met before and although I agree that Giovanni’s clues are always very fair I still needed lots of hints today.
    I liked 10 and 15a and 7d.
    With thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.
    That “dress” should never have seen the light of day and the bride should probably have been drowned at birth!! Where on earth does Gazza find these pictures?!!! :smile:

  7. We like your “investigoogle” word Gazza. It certainly applied to us. However the clues all had elegance that made the process confirmation rather than search. Enjoyed the tussle and pleasing to get there in the end. Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

  8. Investigoogling is fine by me, I understand that learning new words is both enjoyable and for setters stops them using a repertoire that will be both dated and boring. But this much googling on a Wednesday? Really, I tried solving it on a train without access to web or dictionaries of difficult words. Have to agree with Gazza that the cluing (sic) is perfectly fair in retrospect though. Do have lots of favourites and I’m probably being over critical, so thanks to Giovanni and Gazza

  9. Just checked my RSPB books re 14d, the enumeration is dodgy, it should be, as Gazza and Chambers say, 4, 6 not 10. Oh well, time to take the dogs out , tomorrow is another day.

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