Toughie 887

Toughie No 887 by Warbler

Spelling it out

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

Today the total pageviews on the blog broke through 8,000,000!

Once again Warbler gets the Toughie week off to a gentle but very enjoyable start. You may notice a bit of a theme hiding away in today’s grid!

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    Perhaps Juno will have firm date by start of Easter term (8)
{CODEWORD} – a charade of a two-letter abbreviation for a firm, D(ate), the initial letter (start) of Easter, and a term or expression – Juno was the name given to a sector during the Normandy landings, the others being Utah, Omaha, Gold and Sword


5a    Mature  winner? (6)
{VICTOR} – a double definition – the first name of a famous actor and a winner

10a    Principal seeking independence — relating to this may give the desired answer (7,8)
{LEADING QUESTION} – an adjective meaning principal followed by seeking, I(ndependence) and a two-letter word meaning relating to – I think that seeking has to be taken as a gerund for this to work

11a    Further shots of skater whirling full of energy (7)
{RETAKES} – an reversal (whirling) of SKATER around (full of) E(nergy)

12a    South Africa newspaper’s leader is flimsy stuff (7)
{ORGANZA} – the IVR code for South Africa preceded by (is leader) a general name for a newspaper

13a    Quietly set down delivery and co-operate (4,4)
{PLAY BALL} – the musical notation for quietly followed by a verb meaning to set down and a cricket delivery

15a    Intrinsically promotes convenience store (5)
{TESCO} – hidden (Intrinsically) inside the clue

18a    Very large limo, say, as prize (5)
{OSCAR} – the clothing size for very large followed by the type of vehicle of which a limo is an example

20a    Unfinished book marks British Queen’s 30-day period (8)
{NOVEMBER} – A book without its final letter (unfinished) followed by Marks, British and Queen Elizabeth

23a    Take sinuous steps to deceive communist (7)
{FOXTROT} – a verb meaning to deceive followed by a type of communist

25a    According to GIs, Vietcong burn position (7)
{CHARLIE} – the way that GIs referred to the Vietcong is a charade of a verb meaning to burn and a position, particularly in golf

26a    Feds intermingle in a relaxed manner having personal control of outcome (4-11)
{SELF-DETERMINING} – an anagram (in a relaxed manner) of FEDS INTERMINGLE

27a    Sadly I seem resigned in the end to failure (6)
{DEMISE} – an anagram (sadly) of I SEEM and the final letter of (in the end) resigneD

28a    Scroungers are essentially rabid tail-enders (8)
{BLAGGERS} – the middle letter (essentially) of raBid followed by some tail-enders

Down

1d           Type of gas with variable heat unit (6)
{CALORY} – a type of gas for cooking, heating, etc., usually sold in large metal containers, followed by a mathematical variable

2d           Injecting iodine into clot aids dispersing of cardiac dilation (9)
{DIASTOLIC} – insert the chemical symbol for Iodine inside an anagram (dispersing) of CLOT AIDS

3d           Wide extremity of faith is important for spirit in Dublin (7)
{WHISKEY} – W(ide( followed by the final letter (extremity) of faitH, IS and an adjective meaning important

4d           Storms take a lot of time (5)
{RAGES} – the abbreviation of the Latin for take (℞, recipe – as used on prescriptions) followed by a lot of time

6d           Visible awareness (7)
{INSIGHT} – split as (2,5) this means visible

7d           Note bits of ice glistening near river in Devon (5)
{TEIGN} – the seventh note of the scale in sol-fa notation followed by the initial letters (bits) of the next three words in the clue – the town at its mouth is probably better known than the river

8d           Hired protesters scattered near tomb (4-1-3)
{RENT-A-MOB} – an anagram (scattered) of NEAR TOMB

9d           Old European revolutionary boy’s vulgar endlessly (8)
{YUGOSLAV} – an anagram (revolutionary) of (B)OY’S VULGA(R) without the outer letters (endlessly)

14d        Supply comments during the year on gallery (8)
{ANNOTATE} – a charade of the Latin for during the year and a famous London Art Gallery

16d        Husky‘s ear?! (5-4)
{SHELL-LIKE} – a double definition – similar to a husk or a slang word for an ear

17d        Prisoner joined in disorder (8)
{CONFUSED} – Crosswordland’s usual prisoner followed by a verb meaning joined

19d        Choir screen composed of rose red characters (7)
{REREDOS} – an anagram (composed of rose red characters) of ROSE RED

21d        Signifying average in golf (as 1A) (7)
{MEANING} – an average followed by IN and the letter represented by Golf in the NATO Phonetic alphabet (i.e. a 1 across)

22d        Reported sudden increases in fabrics (6)
{SERGES} – sounds like (reported) some sudden increases

24d        Waxy lemon covers woody tissue (5)
{XYLEM} – hidden inside (covers) the clue

25d        Song about origins of romantic overwhelming love (5)
{CAROL} – the two-letter abbreviation of the Latin for about followed by the initial letters of three words in the clue

If you haven’t already noticed, several 1 acrosses are hidden in the grid.  Some, but not all, are entries in the NATO Phonetic alphabet.

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55 Comments

  1. lostboy
    Posted December 4, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    I wait with , er, bated, er breath for the explanation behind 4d.

    • Posted December 4, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      Wait no longer!

      • lostboy
        Posted December 4, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

        Every day’s a school day! That really is a new one on me (the recipe bit.)
        Thanks BD.

        • Posted December 4, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

          It comes up quite often, but not for a while.

  2. Big Boab
    Posted December 4, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    I quite enjoyed this offering from Warbler, a very gentle start to the toughie week. Thanks to Warbler and BD.

    • lostboy
      Posted December 4, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      It was definitely better than Monday’s Toughie, which I finished in no time at all.

      • spindrift
        Posted December 4, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        Have I missed something?

        • lostboy
          Posted December 4, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

          I’m glad you asked.

          I’m running a campaign called “A Toughie On Monday” (ATOM) because it’s the day I spend several hours on a train. As the idea is that the crossword gets harder as the week goes by, Monday is the least logical day not to have a Toughie- I usually finish the back page puzzle fairly quickly, and then I have to do something else. Like work.

          So, Remember! A.T.O.M.!! You know it makes sense!

          • spindrift
            Posted December 4, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

            What a stonking good idea! You have my vote sir.

          • spindrift
            Posted December 4, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

            On further reflection this is absolutely logical & would encourage more people to tackle a toughie & the DT might even sell a few more copies or attract more subscribers to its puzzle site. Perhaps we can persuade BD to have a word with his mate Phil…

            • lostboy
              Posted December 4, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

              What do you think BD?

          • eXternal
            Posted December 4, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

            Or Even get Dave to publish a ‘Not the Toughie’ Toughie on his blog

            • spindrift
              Posted December 4, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

              If that would make them as hard as some of the NTSPPSs then I reserve judgement.

            • Kath
              Posted December 4, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

              That’s a really good idea. :smile:

    • Big Boab
      Posted December 4, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      By the way, can I congratulate BD and the team for passing the 8,000,000 hits barrier, it has been a truly amazing success.

  3. Pegasus
    Posted December 4, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Pleasant offering from todays setter with a nice mini theme, favourites were 16d and 23a thanks to Warbler and to Big Dave for the hints.

    • lostboy
      Posted December 4, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      Hi Pegasus, and thanks for pointing out the theme, which I had completely missed in my excitement at actually completing it!

      • Posted December 4, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        I did drop a hint in the prologue! Perhaps no-one reads those.

        • lostboy
          Posted December 4, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

          I usually do BD, but I was so mystified by 4d that when the page landed I just shot straight to it!

        • eXternal
          Posted December 4, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

          I spotted the theme but was hoping it would spell something out. Or have I missed something?

        • Kath
          Posted December 4, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

          I always read the prologue – call me dim if you like but, even knowing that there is one, I STILL haven’t spotted the theme. :sad:

          • Franco
            Posted December 4, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

            The hint to 21d should help with the mini theme!

            • Posted December 4, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

              I thought the subheading would help!

          • Kath
            Posted December 4, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

            I finally get it! I think the clue for 27a (but not the answer, hopefully) pretty much sums up how I feel! :sad:

            • Heno
              Posted December 4, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

              Victor, Charlie, Foxtrot, November.

              • Franco
                Posted December 4, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

                And two more …

                Hope you’re not sending this from Athens. (Olympiakos 2 – 1 Arsenal)

                But as M. Wenger says “What Crisis?”

              • Posted December 4, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

                Not forgetting Oscar and Whiskey

  4. Kath
    Posted December 4, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Finished apart from three in the bottom right corner. 25a was one – got that now from the hints. I don’t understand what I have for 21d and absolutely can’t do 16d.
    I didn’t know where Juno came into 1a – my Dad would be so ashamed of me.
    I thought the rest was probably no harder than the average back page (when that’s where it is) puzzle. I enjoyed it very much and it’s stopped me doing all the things that I should be doing.
    I liked 12, 23 and 28a and 3 and 25d.
    With thanks to Warbler and to BD, and congratulations on all the achievements of this great blog.

    • andy
      Posted December 4, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

      I so wanted to give you hints between meetings. I am so verbose in “how i solved the clue” I have total regard for those whose who can in a couple of lines…….

  5. Only fools
    Posted December 4, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Encouraged by comments elsewhere I peeped at the paper version and then have to say completed without much fuss and thereby avoided the typos which I suffer using the iwotsit .Very enjoyable .
    Thanks for the review and congrats on the milestone (actually typed millstone at first !)
    I think it is quite a while since the R abbreviation .

  6. Franco
    Posted December 4, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    A very good example of a crossword being very entertaining without being overly difficult! Thanks to Warbler!

    (Pleased with myself that I understood “take” in 4d.)

    16d – I cannot remember seeing a clue with both a question mark and an exclamation mark at the end?!

    • eXternal
      Posted December 4, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      16d – I also thought that unusual. No doubt, Warbler thought that a few liberties were taken. It was actually my favourite clue, very nicely done.

  7. crypticsue
    Posted December 4, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    1* /4* for me too. Thank you very much Warbler for a nice themed cheerfulness-inducing start to the Toughie week. At the risk of sounding like Brian, I didn’t know you could spell 1d with a Y but the wordplay was so clear that it had to be.

    Thanks and congratulations to BD too.

    • Kath
      Posted December 4, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      Re 1d, I didn’t either. Neither did I know that Y was variable. Anyway, looked it up in BRB . . . ! That’s at least two things that I’ve learnt today. And some people (my sister for one) say that crosswords are SUCH a waste of time!!

      • Posted December 4, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

        The usual mathematical unknowns/variables in crosswords are x, y and z. They are used in equations like z = x2 + y2

        • Kath
          Posted December 4, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

          Oh dear!! :sad:
          Only joking – unknowns I can usually do it’s just the variables – I suppose it’s the same thing really.

  8. 2Kiwis
    Posted December 4, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Back to scrolling through the Wikipedia list again. This time for rivers in Devon. At least there are fewer of them than towns and villages so found quickly. We found it a bit trickier than most people are reporting, but agree, a lot of fun.
    Thanks Warbler and BD.

  9. jezza
    Posted December 4, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    Great fun; 2*/4* for me. I also was unaware of the alternative spelling for 1d, but as crypticsue says it was clear from the wordplay.
    Thanks to Warbler, and to BD.

  10. shropshirelad
    Posted December 4, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    First time I have ever fully completed a Toughie without help after being encouraged to try it on the back pager blog by Jezza and Crypticsue. Got 4d , more by luck than judgement as it was the only word that would fit, so needed BD’s explanation. Thanks for that.

    I agree with Spindrift & Lostboy in so much as it would be nice to have a progressively harder Toughie beginning on a Monday and thence throughout the week to encourage us lesser mortals to attempt a higher level of achievement. So ATOM – I know it makes sense.

    • Posted December 4, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      I fear it is a lost cause as the Herculis GK puzzle occupies the slot where the Toughie appears for the rest of the week.

      With regard to publishing a “Not The Monday Toughie”, I would be happy to do this if someone would like to volunteer to do all the preliminary work like test solving, negotiating clue changes with the setter, setting up the Crossword Compiler file etc..

      • Franco
        Posted December 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        I think it’s a compliment to how well this Blog is managed if some people think that adding an extra crossword each week would be so easy!

        It appears to run by clockwork but I’m sure that none of us realise how much hard work is involved behind the scenes!

        Step forward the first volunteer!

        • Franco
          Posted December 4, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

          “It appears to run by clockwork … ” – my laptop has just reached its 10th Birthday!

        • gnomethang
          Posted December 4, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

          That’ll make me the spanner and crypticsue the WD40! ;)

      • Kath
        Posted December 4, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

        I don’t know how to do any of the clever stuff – negotiating clue changes with the setter is one example of what I couldn’t do. As for setting up the Crossword Compiler file etc – well, you might as well be talking a foreign language! I would happily have a go at test solving so long as I had someone to whom I could scream “HELP NEEDED NOW”!

      • Kath
        Posted December 4, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

        PS Franco is right about how little we know about the amount of work that goes into something we all just take for granted.
        How lucky we are – thanks again to everyone who contributes – perhaps we should all show our appreciation more often.
        :smile:

      • eXternal
        Posted December 4, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

        I’ll give it a go, Dave

        • Posted December 4, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

          Well done. I’ll write to you.

          • eXternal
            Posted December 4, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

            did I really say that out loud?

            • Franco
              Posted December 4, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

              Pardon?

          • spindrift
            Posted December 5, 2012 at 9:18 am | Permalink

            Many thanks BD & to eXternal for volunteering. As has already been stated we take this site for granted & forget how much effort is made for it to run efficiently. Thank you very strong.

            I came to the site via an article in the DT about Rufus a couple of years ago & can say that it has improved my solving skills & understanding of how clues work immensely. Plus it has such a lovely bunch of people contributing all of the time.

            More power to your elbow Big Man!

            • shropshirelad
              Posted December 5, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

              Hear, hear

  11. andy
    Posted December 4, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Warbler consistently provides such an enjoyable start to the toughie week. I really enjoyed this. Thanks to BD and Warbler

  12. gnomethang
    Posted December 4, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    Ditto andy and the above comments. Warbler always provides great entertainment no matter the difficulty and this was no exception. Third last in and favourite was 16d which was well, ahem, Telegraphed by the ? and the !. Thanks to you and to BD for the blog.

  13. Heno
    Posted December 4, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Warbler & Big Dave. As usual I needed 7 hints, 4 of those I had to look up. At least it was do-able. I quite enjoyed what I managed to do.

  14. halcyon
    Posted December 4, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    Highly entertaining puzzle and not too tricky – except for 9d which defeated me. I was convinced it should be spelled with a capital J to give us a pangram [which the theme sort of supported] and so just couldn’t “see” the anagram.

    Many thanks to Warbler and BD.