Toughie 860

Toughie No 860 by Elkamere

Ho Ho Ho!

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

Today we have the usual witty and very entertaining offering from Elkamere. It’s not as tricky as some puzzles from his alter ego Anax but it’s ideal for a Wednesday and it’s very nearly, but not quite, a pangram.
Please leave a comment telling us how you got on and also take the time to click on one of the stars below to record your level of enjoyment.
I’ve used BD’s new method of hiding the answers today – I hope it works.

Across Clues

1a  This place is finished ! (8,2)
{

Spoiler

WESTWARD HO

[collapse]
} – yesterday we had a punctuation mark playing a significant part in a back page clue and today we have a different one in the Toughie. This place (fairly easy for me) is a village on the North Devon coast, named after the novel by local writer Charles Kingsley, and the exclamation mark, as in the novel, finishes off its name.

6a  Crazy PM no good? (4)
{

Spoiler

AMOK

[collapse]
} – I’m sure that we’ve had a very similar clue to this before but I can’t find it. PM in the wordplay is afternoon rather than Prime Minister and the assumption is that although the afternoon is no good, for an appointment perhaps, the morning is fine.

9a  They may predict return of player in some small ways (5,5)
{

Spoiler

TAROT CARDS

[collapse]
} – reverse (return) a player or luvvie inserted between a word for a small amount without its final D (some) and the abbreviation for (high)ways.

10a  Wed after this, keeping Romeo faithful (4)
{

Spoiler

TRUE

[collapse]
} – the abbreviation for the day that precedes Wed has the letter that Romeo represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet inserted (keeping).

12a  Funny way to give the French king almost nothing (4)
{

Spoiler

ZERO

[collapse]
} – a funny way to pronounce (give) ‘the’ is followed by the French word for king without its final letter (almost).

13a  It’s acceptable to break wind, and heavenly (9)
{

Spoiler

SPIRITUAL

[collapse]
} – LOL. IT (from the clue) and the letter used to mean socially acceptable are inserted (to break) in a verb meaning to wind or twist.

15a  Physicist developed early unlimited light (8)
{

Spoiler

RAYLEIGH

[collapse]
} – this is an English physicist and Nobel Prize winner. An anagram (developed) of EARLY is followed by (L)IGH(t) without the end letters (unlimited). I’m ashamed to say that I’d never heard of this man but the wordplay is fairly straightforward.

16a  Gradually increase weird noise, say (4,2)
{

Spoiler

FADE IN

[collapse]
} – a phrasal verb which sounds like (say) fey din.

18a  Awaiting confirmation in approval for fair (3,3)
{

Spoiler

NOT BAD

[collapse]
} – a three-letter abbreviation meaning awaiting confirmation goes inside a gesture of approval.

20a  Spooner’s beast, plump flying fox (5,3)
{

Spoiler

FRUIT BAT

[collapse]
} – this mammal might have been rendered by the good Reverend as brute fat.

23a  ABC… D,E… I’m poorly grasped by inferior kids (9)
{

Spoiler

RUDIMENTS

[collapse]
} – an anagram (poorly) of D E and I’M is contained (grasped) by undersized offspring.

24a  Pathetic female admirer rejected (4)
{

Spoiler

NAFF

[collapse]
} – an adjective meaning pathetic or inferior comes from reversing (rejected) F(emale) and an admirer or supporter.

26a  Heads for unusual girl — extremely lively but not attractive (4)
{

Spoiler

UGLY

[collapse]
} – the leading (heads) letters of unusual and girl are followed by the outer letters (extremely) of lively.

27a  Wooden bridges worried collie — do not cross! (6,4)
{

Spoiler

POLICE LINE

[collapse]
} – an adjective describing something made from a specific type of wood goes round (bridges) an anagram (worried) of COLLIE. I sympathise with the collie’s owner because my black lab resolutely refuses to cross wooden bridges as well!

28a  Daughter’s chest hidden (4)
{

Spoiler

DARK

[collapse]
} – the abbreviation for daughter is followed by a chest or coffer.

29a  Plugged it in the wrong way opposing front of device (10)
{

Spoiler

ADVERTISED

[collapse]
} – IT gets reversed (the wrong way) inside an adjective meaning opposing or hostile, then finally we have the first letter (front) of D(evice).

Down Clues

1d  Power unit, sorry to say (4)
{

Spoiler

WATT

[collapse]
} – the SI unit of power sounds like (to say) a query as to what has just been said (sorry?).

2d  Spells ‘dishy’ phonetically? (7)
{

Spoiler

SORCERY

[collapse]
} – the answer sounds like (phonetically) how you might describe the sort of shallow dish you’d rest your cup on.

3d  Misanthrope running after wife most cheerfully (4,4,4)
{

Spoiler

WITH OPEN ARMS

[collapse]
} – an anagram (running) of MISANTHROPE follows W(ife).

4d  Transfer power when seizing a ship (8)
{

Spoiler

REASSIGN

[collapse]
} – a word for power or rule contains (when seizing) A and the usual abbreviated ship.

5d  Pilgrims enjoyed letter which starts ‘Jesus lives’? Maybe (6)
{

Spoiler

HADJIS

[collapse]
} – these are Muslims who have made the required pilgrimage to Mecca. Start with a verb meaning enjoyed or consumed, then add the starting letter of J(esus) and another word (maybe) for lives or exists.

7d  Tent damage — suspect base is missing (7)
{

Spoiler

MARQUEE

[collapse]
} – a verb meaning to damage followed by an adjective meaning suspect or irregular without its last letter (base, in a down clue, is missing).

8d  Of modest design, in the area of caps (4-6)
{

Spoiler

KNEE-LENGTH

[collapse]
} – so, not a mini then. Caps here are convex bones.

11d  Forged metals, mining being out? (12)
{

Spoiler

MISALIGNMENT

[collapse]
} – an anagram (forged) of METALS MINING.

14d  Win over British on home soil (5,5)
{

Spoiler

BRING ROUND

[collapse]
} – a two-character abbreviation for British is followed by an adverb meaning at home and a synonym for soil.

17d  Virgin can, if taken by force (8)
{

Spoiler

PRISTINE

[collapse]
} – a metal can is contained inside (taken by) a verb meaning to force or lever.

19d  Temperature more strange around lake, little one (7)
{

Spoiler

TODDLER

[collapse]
} – T(emperature) is followed by a comparative meaning more strange containing L(ake).

21d  Evidence of poor hygiene? Smell from bottom (scientists) (7)
{

Spoiler

BOFFINS

[collapse]
} – the abbreviation for a personal problem which, according to the old adverts, even your best friends won’t tell you about is followed by the reversal (from bottom, in a down clue) of a verb meaning to smell or scent.

22d  Waiting for connection? Ring New Hampshire earlier (2,4)
{

Spoiler

ON HOLD

[collapse]
} – string together O(ld), the standard abbreviation for New Hampshire and an adjective meaning earlier or in the past.

25d  Tax cut (4)
{

Spoiler

GELD

[collapse]
} – this was my last answer. It’s a double definition with the second being a verb to cut (the sort of cut which deprives a stallion of a happy retirement at stud).

The clues which I liked best were 1a, 10a, 13a and 25d. Let us know what you liked.


28 Comments

  1. Jezza
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Gazza – the similar clue you are looking for is puzzle 26975, 6d.

    • gazza
      Posted October 17, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Jezza, but I was a thinking of a clue some time ago which specifically mentioned PM or afternoon.

      • Jezza
        Posted October 17, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        The one I was thinking of was in a Dada puzzle:

        Unvirtuous PM written then ?(6)

        • gazza
          Posted October 17, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

          Thanks – that may be what I remembered. I thought there was a similar clue with answer ‘amok’ but Google can’t find it so it was probably just a craft moment.

          • Qix
            Posted October 17, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

            In September, this appeared in the Times:

            PM’s predecessor in the beginning almost folding (7)

  2. crypticsue
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    A very nice fluffy Elkamere. I have dots by all the favourite clues that gazza lists above. Thanks to both for their part in a good crossword day.

  3. Big Boab
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Good fun, thanks to Elkamere and Gazza. ( 15a was an answer in the GK crossword on Sat or Sun, can’t remember which)

  4. Jezza
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this one. A few of the clues dragged it into 4 star difficulty for me, and I spent ages trying to parse 9a (the TA…..RDS), and 12a. Thanks to Elkamere, and to Gazza. The same favourites as Gazza, but I also liked 3d.

  5. Pegasus
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Cracking puzzle for a Wednesday really enjoyed it, Favourites for me were 1a 3d 21d but the stand-out has to be 13a thanks to Elkamere and to Gazza for the review.

  6. albatross
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Gaza – I was struggling to finish and wouldn’t have without your help. Very miffed at not seeing 1a as I lived in mid-Devon for 6 years!

    I’m afraid the “hiding” method didn’t work for me (I’m running Windows 7).

    • Posted October 17, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      It’s more to do with the browser than the operating system. I’ve checked it out using the latest versions of Firefox, Internet Explorer (IE9), Safari, Chrome and Opera, all under Windows 7.

    • gazza
      Posted October 17, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      Hi albatross,
      Which browser are you using? The hiding works ok (from my tests) on Firefox and Chrome and on IE9 (64-bit) but not on IE8 (64-bit) where the text is not hidden. I’d suggest that you update your browser (I appreciate that this isn’t always possible if you’re using a shared or office computer).
      Whereabouts in mid-Devon did you live?

      • gnomethang
        Posted October 17, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

        It works well on the android browser. blank until you select and then the word us revealed. nice one!

      • albatross
        Posted October 17, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Gaza and BD. I’m using IE but not sure which version – probably IE8 as the laptop is over 2 years old. That said, it worked fine yesterday when BD did the blog. It’s not a shared or office computer but I think I’ll leave well alone untiI I need to call in Rodger the computer man for some other reason!

        Gaza – from 1985-1991 I lived in a little village called Down St Mary, about 5 miles north of Crediton on the way to Barnstaple (I was working in Exeter) – it’s probably grown a bit in the intervening years!

        Can I take this opportunity to say how helpful and enjoyable I find this site. I was introduced to it by a friend in Feb of this year and have since graduated from the Clueless Club and once even completed a Toughie unaided (though to put this in context BD did say it belonged on the back page!.) A big thank you to everyone.

        • Posted October 17, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

          To check the version, click on the tools icon (shaped like a cogwheel) and select “About Internet Explorer”.

    • Posted October 17, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      It seems that IE8 does not run on on Operating systems after Vista and IE9 does not run on systems before Vista. Take this opportunity to change to a decent browser:

      Firefox and Chrome are highly recommended,
      Opera is the most efficient of all the main browsers,
      Safari is written by Apple (say no more),
      IE (Internet Explorer) is the most used and worst of the lot.

      • albatross
        Posted October 18, 2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        Thanks Dave. I’m sending this from my main PC but will have a look at the laptop (which belongs to household management) later. Thanks again

  7. Qix
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    The usual quality gear, both from Elkamere and from Gazza.

  8. gnomethang
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Lovely puzzle pitched just right for a Wednesday IMHO. Same favourites for me as well 28a. thanks Elksmere and thanks to gazza as well.

  9. anax
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    While I giggle helplessly at England’s imaginationless performance v Poland, just time to bob in and say Thank You to Gazza to a top notch review and to all for your comments.

    Just a small clarification on 12a – the intention is to see “Ze roi” and remove the last letter.

    For the record, I’m using Firefox and the hidden answers device works a treat, no problems at all.

    Best wishes all. Now, let’s have that Poland winner…

    • stanXYZ
      Posted October 17, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      I normally complain about setters using “too many words in the clues”. But not today!

      12a – Didn’t Gazza say the same thing in his hint? Isn’t “French” doing double duty?

      (The format on Bigdave.44 seems to keep changing… or is it just me?)

      • gazza
        Posted October 17, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        12a I can’t see that French is doing double duty – it applies to ‘king’ only. The ZE is how you might pronounce ‘the’ (i.e. the English definite article) in a funny way.

        • anax
          Posted October 17, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

          Hmm, not quite Gazza. The use of ‘ze’ is intended to be the comical French interpretation, but the clue avoids ‘French’ doing double duty because ‘Ze roi’ is treated as a whole phrase interpreted as (mock) French, rather than separate words given that treatment.

          • Posted October 17, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

            But don’t the French only say “ze” when speaking English? This clue is in danger of anal over-analysis. It satisfies my definition of a good clue “Did it make me smile?”.

          • gazza
            Posted October 17, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

            … and I thought I understood it this morning, Surely a Frenchman would only say “ze” if he were speaking imperfect or funny English, in which case he would be saying “ze king” rather than “ze roi”?

          • stanXYZ
            Posted October 17, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

            I bow to your better judgement! You wrote zee clue!

            I had: “Funny way to give the French…” = Ze and

            “French king almost..” = “Roi (without the final “i”)

  10. 2Kiwis
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    Found this hard work but really fun. Most giggles from the scatological 13a and 21d. We had “rend” for 25d, agree that ‘geld” is much better though. Thanks Elkamere and Gazza.

    • andy
      Posted October 17, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      Oh thank your lord, this was a 4* difficulty for me, 25d down needed thesaurus to confirm, Thanks as ever to Gazza and Elkamere. Gazza feedback At work on IE8 the hidden words are not, and not on my IE8 home laptop neither