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Toughie 900

Toughie No 900 by MynoT

Please let this not be the start of yet another series!

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

MynoT has left his alphabet-themed crosswords behind him – or has he? In this one all but one of the answers contain a particular vowel and the one that doesn’t sort of indicates the fact.

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4a    Pop group ebbing and flowing but not dead, and relating to Westminster for example (8)
{ABBATIAL} – a Swedish pop group followed by an adjective meaning ebbing and flowing without (but not) D(ead)

8a    Criticise a mother’s hat (6)
{PANAMA} – a verb meaning to criticise followed by the A from the clue and a two-letter word meaning mother

9a    Priest to thrash male civil servant (8)
{PLACEMAN} – P(riest) followed by a verb that can, according to Chambers, mean to thrash and a male person combine to give a derogatory term for a person appointed to a position in government service for personal profit and as a reward for political support

10a    Like a transvestite, perhaps, having desire to live in Gulf state? On the contrary (8)
{WOMANISH} – not a desire inside a Gulf state, but the other way around

11a    Joker gets sack in middle of bank (6)
{HOAXER} – a verb meaning to sack from a job inside the middle letters of a bank or beach (i.e. drop the S and E from the outside)

12a    What in my French book is a fairy monarch? (5,3)
{QUEEN MAB} – the French for what (3), in (2) and my (2) followed by B(ook) gives the royal fairy from Romeo and Juliet

13a    Judge one who used to dig over acre (8)
{EXAMINER} – one who used to dig for coal (2-5) around A(cre)

16a    American volume at institute for the learned (8)
{LITERATI} – the American spelling of a metric measure of volume followed by AT and I(nstitute)

19a    Return of Paris maybe cut short names relating to meanings of words (8)
{SEMANTIC} – the type of conurbation of which Paris is an example without its final letter followed by NAMES, all reversed (return)

21a    Socialist worker is a crawler (3,3)
{RED ANT} – a socialist and a worker insect combine to give a variety of said insect – a poor clue

23a    Allow to scold about the French (8)
{TOLERATE} – TO and a verb meaning to scold around the French definite article

24a    Heathen in Italy was devilish musician (8)
{PAGANINI} – a heathen followed by IN and I(taly) gives a musician considered by some to be possessed of the Devil

25a    Same again!? Catch red herring perhaps with no article or gizmo? (6)
{DONGLE} – the two-letter abbreviation for “same again” followed by a verb meaning to catch a fish without the indefinite article – a hint as to how this answer is different to all the others?

26a    Informed about jazz, danced tango for 50p perhaps (8)
{HEPTAGON} – an adjective meaning Informed about jazz followed by an anagram (danced) of TANGO gives the shape of a 50p piece – strictly speaking the answer should be preceded by equilaterally curved


1d    Elaborately decorated ship with nothing on board (7)
{BAROQUE} – a three-masted ship whose mizzenmast is fore-and-aft-rigged with O (nothing) inside (on board)

2d    Game that’s a mere nothing (9)
{BAGATELLE] – the game from the phrase “human life is a mere *********”

3d    A meal for some, at the counter I express hesitation (6)
{BARIUM} – a counter followed by I and an expression of hesitation gives a “meal” which renders the alimentary canal opaque to X-rays

4d    Ordering by letter a replacement for hot, able pianist (15)
{ALPHABETISATION} – the A from the clue followed by an anagram of (replacement for) HOT ABLE PIANIST

5d    Support letter to gangster relating to arm (8)
{BRACHIAL} – a female support garment followed by a Greek letter and the first name of a famous American gangster

6d    The thanks one gets for a letter (5)
{THETA} – THE followed by a two-letter thank you gives another Greek letter

7d    Play made in one scholarly world (7)
{ACADEME} – an anagram (play) of MADE inside a playing card with one spot

14d    Travelling international money takes an age to reach National Trust (9)
{ITINERANT} – a charade of I(nternational), a slang word for money, an age or long period of time and the abbreviation of the National Trust

15d    Distant object; it’s not worth much (8)
{FARTHING} – a charade of an adjective meaning distant and an object

17d    Repeat mass instruction to depart with speed (7)
{ITERATE} – Ite, missa est are the concluding Latin words addressed to the people in the Mass of the Roman Rite, so ITE (mass instruction to depart) is followed by a speed – thanks for the explanation, Gazza

18d    Polish river having pleasing view over frontiers of Ukraine and Lithuania (7)
{VISTULA} – a pleasing view around (over) the initial letters (frontiers) of Ukraine and Lithuania

20d    Expression of surprise about a boy’s illness (6)
{MALADY} – a two-letter expression of surprise around the A from the clue and a boy

22d    Expect a singer (5)
{AWAIT} – the A from the clue and a singer of Christmas carols

Not my favourite puzzle.

8 comments on “Toughie 900

  1. 17d The latin phrase used at the end of a Mass is apparently Ite missa est roughly translated as ‘Go away – the Mass is over’ so ITE is a Mass instruction to depart.

  2. I hadn’t noticed all the As – my only thought was how many people would complain about words they didn’t know.

    Thanks to MynoT and Big Dave.

  3. We had missed parsing the “ite” in 17d and pondered for some time over the lack of an “a” in 25a. When we noticed who the setter was we were immediately on the watch for a common letter so that was a help to us, as was our Christmas present copy of the BRB for a couple of the clues. A good challenge to get us back into the Toughie routine.
    Thanks Mynot and BD.

  4. Completed this slightly quicker than the cryptic .only unfamiliar word 9a but was easy to parse with the given letters .I quite enjoyed it .
    Thanks for the explanation and confirmation .

  5. I quite enjoyed this – I know that I’ve said it before but the themed puzzles/common letters are quite a good way for a novice Toughie solver to get into the crossword.
    There weren’t THAT many words that I hadn’t heard of – 4 and 9a, and the Polish river but they were all possible to work out from the clues. I didn’t know the ITE bit of 17d.
    Thanks to MynoT and BD.

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