Toughie 907 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 907

Toughie No 907 by Giovanni

My sacred aunt!

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

There are several words and meanings that I was unaware of today but Giovanni’s wordplay is so precise that my use of the BRB was largely restricted to checking that the word I’d come up with actually exists.
Let us know how you got on and please take the time to record your rating of the puzzle by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

1a  Name of female jazz singer canonised? (6)
{STELLA} – this is a girl’s name (that of the fashion designer with the famous father perhaps). If split (2,4) it could describe a canonised jazz singer.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

5a  Workers given sign to finish early? That’s generous (8)
{HANDSOME} – manual workers followed by a sign or portent without its final letter (to finish early).

9a  Cocky drunk I’ve confronted (4-9)
{OVER-CONFIDENT} – an anagram (drunk) of I’VE CONFRONTED.

10a  Coldness of manner in old woman not spoken well of as guide (8)
{CICERONE} – insert a word meaning coldness of manner into an uncomplimentary (not spoken well of) term for an old woman. The answer is a guide who gives information to sightseers and the name is apparently an allusion to the eloquence and learning of a famous Roman orator.

11a  What’s funny in gibe? It’s cheap and nasty (6)
{SHODDY} – an adjective meaning funny or strange goes inside a gibe or sneer (something flung at you).

12a  Cold in a lake? Fine! (6)
{AMERCE} – this is a verb meaning to impose a fine (derived from a French word meaning to have somebody at one’s mercy). Insert C(old) in A (from the clue) and a lake or pond.

14a  Operatic performer succeeded at the front of a very old garden (8)
{SAVOYARD} – this is a performer in the Gilbert and Sullivan operas produced at a specific theatre in London. S(ucceeded) comes before A (from the clue), V(ery), O(ld) and what North Americans call their garden.

16a  We must stop people in their tracks — fools going after devil (8)
{IMPASSES} – fools follow a little devil.

19a  Rubbishy toy? Get back payment, say (6)
{GEEGAW} – regular payment (for work you do) is followed by the abbreviation for ‘say’ then it all gets reversed (get back).

21a  Army transporting French ruler, diminutive king in carriage (6)
{TROIKA} – the abbreviation for our volunteer army contains (transporting) the French word for a ruler and the abbreviation for a king in chess.

23a  What may sound like exact location for making sandcastles? (8)
{LITTORAL} – this sounds like an adjective meaning exact or unvarnished.

25a  French musician worshipped in church, active around start of service (6,7)
{CLAUDE DEBUSSY} – a past participle meaning worshipped or praised goes inside one of the abbreviations for church. That’s followed by an adjective meaning active or industrious containing the start letter of S(ervice).

26a  Sailors and soldiers backing Cabinet minister to be top man (8)
{GOVERNOR} – abbreviations for a) our senior service and b) non-commissioned soldiers follow the surname of the current Secretary of State for Education (and great mate of Rupert Murdoch).

27a  Respect last in the race when crossing line finally (6)
{ESTEEM} – start with the last letter of (th)E then add a word for a race or family containing (crossing) the final letter of (lin)E.

Down Clues

2d  Element of danger in dodgy humorist with jokes ultimately ‘off’ (7)
{THORIUM} – the danger in this element comes from the fact that it’s radioactive. It’s name is an anagram (dodgy) of HUMORI(s)T without the ultimate letter of jokes.

3d  Man in feudal system  somewhere in Belgium (5)
{LIEGE} – double definition.

4d  Workers taking on board routine task for folk living alone (9)
{ANCHORETS} – I knew the word for these reclusive folks but not this variant in its spelling. The usual working insects contain (taking on board) a routine and tedious task.

5d  Watches  people going after game? (7)
{HUNTERS} – double definition, the watches being timepieces usually carried in a pocket rather than on the wrist.

6d  Plates of molluscs beginning to drop off (5)
{NAILS} – these are horny plates of which most humans have twenty. Drop the initial letter from some slow-moving molluscs.

7d  One’s petty about getting machine for the office (9)
{STENOTYPE} – this is the trade name of a small typewriter-like machine used to record speech in phonetic shorthand (it may still be used in some offices but I think you’re more likely to see it these days in a courtroom). It’s an anagram (about) of ONE’S PETTY.

8d  Killer has friend bumped off early, having love in short supply (7)
{MATADOR} – this clue contains two phrases indicating truncation. Firstly truncate (bumped off early) a word for friend or comrade, then follow this with a verb meaning to love without its last letter (in short supply).

13d  Revive one in the clutches of devilish man-eater (9)
{REANIMATE} – insert I (Roman numeral for one) in an anagram (devilish) of MAN-EATER.

15d  Become fit after meat’s cut by half — but do eat this! (9)
{VEGETABLE} – a phrase meaning become fit (3,4) follows the first half of a type of meat.

17d  Fabulous bird about to be drowned by animal sound in the country (7)
{MOROCCO} – a gigantic mythical bird and the single-character abbreviation for about or approximately go inside (to be drowned by) the sound made by a farm animal.

18d  Warrior suffering internal upset must become more robust (7)
{SOLIDER} – start with a warrior and reverse two of the inside letters.

20d  The girl isn’t honest? Hearing this, break down (7)
{ANALYSE} – this sounds like a phrase (4,4) indicating that a girl (possibly the fragrant Ms. Friel once more) is being untruthful.

22d  Poet in a university study (5)
{AUDEN} – A followed by U(niversity) and a study.

24d  Genesis — performing group (5)
{ONSET} – a charade of an adverb meaning performing and a group or clique.

The clues that I liked best were 1a, 15d and 17d. How about you?

16 comments on “Toughie 907

  1. Gazza has already said what I would have. The exact cluing from Giovanni led me to a few answers which I then needed to confirm were correct. Thanks to you both, for the puzzle, and for the review.
    3*/3.5* for me.

  2. Enjoyed this one from the Don, favourites were 1a 10a and 20d thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for the comments,

    1. Littoral means pertaining to the seashore ie where you’d build sandcastles. It sounds like literal which means exact. Any help?

  3. Don’t understand – 16a – why is ” We must stop people in their tracks…” the definition?

    1. An impasse is a situation in which no progress is possible. “We” implies the plural is required. Does that explain it?

  4. We have learnt from previous Toughies from The Don that it is a good strategy to keep BRB close at hand whilst solving. This proved to be true, but as Gazza pointed out, only to confirm answers that were very gettable from the precise elegant clues.
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.
    PS Liked your Hamlet assessment stars Gazza, with indecision on both scores.

  5. Would never in a number of moons got 10a,14a,12a,19a, and 4d without the precision of clueing and had never heard of 4 of them . Was going to throw the towel in at one stage as I made slow progress in the SE corner but glad I did’nt .
    For me this was at least 4 * for difficulty and probably the same for enjoyment .
    Thanks once again.

  6. I’m going to be in a minority of precisely me in that i dread Giovanni toughies for the reason that I do not carry around with me a dictionary of never used words on the commutes. I love the 90% or so of the clues that as said are so exact and precisely clued by a master at work, but really not keen on having to wait till near a computer or books to confirm the rest. I’m grumpy as about to complete day 10 no smoking so sorry both Gs no offence meant. Now lets have another celery stick grrrrr

    1. andy,
      Some of your comments are requiring moderation and editing because you’re using ‘net’ as the last part of your email address instead of your normal ‘uk’.

  7. Thanks Gazza, hope this works, when I got home yesterday we’d had a power cut and ended up rather rushing things trying to reconnect everything

  8. Thanks to the 2 G’s. I always struggle with Giovanni on the back pager, so no surprise that I only got 10 answers in this. Still I enjoyed reading the hints, which gave me another 6, but had to look up 12, 5 of those were new words for me. So it was educational & entertaining. I just hope one day that I can solve a few more clues.

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