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Toughie 927

Toughie No 927 by Firefly

Jordan’s Outstanding Feature

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

If you like long anagrams with odd bits removed from the fodder you’ll probably love this puzzle. It has a theme based on Jordan’s premier tourist attraction. Let us know how you got on.

Across Clues

1a  ‘Greetings,’ says Apache to cowboy — a timely remark? (3,4,3,5)
{HOW GOES THE ENEMY} – a cryptic description of how a cowboy might describe the verbal greeting made by his traditional opponent is actually a rather stilted request to be told the time.

9a  Adventurer led varied careers (4-5)
{DARE-DEVIL} – an anagram (careers) of LED VARIED.

10a  Upbeat areas oddly lacking in old city… (5)
{PETRA} – upbeat areas with the odd letters missing  provide the subject of today’s theme (not the Blue Peter dog, but the old city which is Jordan’s major tourist attraction) …

11a/17d/5d/22a … here’s site of a domain drastically ruined in past (1,4-3,4,4,2,3,2,4)
{A ROSE-RED CITY HALF AS OLD AS TIME} – … and this is the famous quotation about the old city from the poem by John William Burgon. It’s an anagram (ruined) of HERE’S SITE OF A DOMA(in) DRASTICALLY with IN taken out (past, as in no longer in existence). Luckily the quotation is very well known because I don’t think I’d have ever worked out the anagram from scratch – I really don’t like very long anagrams.

It seems no work of Man’s creative hand,
by labour wrought as wavering fancy planned;
But from the rock as if by magic grown,
eternal, silent, beautiful, alone!

12a  Weighty beam needed for necropolis (9)
{GRAVEYARD} – a charade of an adjective meaning weighty or profound and a long beam on the mast of a sailing ship.

13a  Bank processes are rusty (8)
{TREASURY} – an anagram (processes) of ARE RUSTY. Judged by the latest revelations bank processes are not so much rusty as criminal.

14a  States opinion — initially worthless — in online forum (6)
{USENET} – start with the two-character abbreviation for the States and add an opinion or belief without its initial T (initially worthless).

16a  Cigar company functioning in central Iran (6)
{CORONA} – this is a long cigar with straight sides and a blunt end. The abbreviation for company is followed by an adjective meaning functioning or operating inside the central letters of Iran.

18a  Run out with trunk when in scrape, getting help for answering 1 Across? (8)
{HOROLOGE} – the cricketing abbreviation for run out and a tree trunk that’s been cut down go inside a verb to scrape the ground with an implement.

22a  See 11a

23a  Setter in Paris street gets wet (5)
{MOIST} – I needed the checking letters to get this because I was fixated on Paris street being rue. What we actually need is how the setter would refer to himself in French followed by the usual abbreviation for street.

24a  Spot of minigolf for Mr Jones? (5)
{INIGO} – the forename of the 17th century architect is hidden (spot of) in the clue.

25a  Drunk in East Bedroom, one’s given stewed tea (9)
{INEBRIATE} – I’m not sure why East Bedroom is capitalised (Google throws up the information that Harewood House in Yorkshire has a famous East Bedroom, which may or may not be what the setter is referring to). Anyway, we need to string together IN (from the clue), E(ast), the two-character abbreviation for bedroom in Estate Agents’ jargon, I (one) and an anagram (stewed) of TEA.

26a  Writer, divertingly amused with apt sayings, is departing for university (3,2,10)
{GUY DE MAUPASSANT} – I got this French writer of short stories from the enumeration (having studied him for French A-level) rather than the anagram. Here we need an anagram (divertingly) of AMUSED APT SAYINGS but with a U (university) substituting for IS. I really don’t like this because the IS doesn’t exist in the fodder as two contiguous letters and you have to take out the I and S separately.

Down Clues

1d  Opening in the main consists of lofty-sounding Democrat’s tirade (7)
{HYDRANT} – the main here is not the ocean but the principal pipe carrying a water supply. What sounds like an adjective meaning lofty is followed by D(emocrat) and a tirade.

2d  Airwomen (unknown sadly) I’m missing in sphere of hostilities (3,4)
{WAR ZONE} – an anagram (sadly) of A(i)RWO(m)EN and Z (the third algebraic unknown) with the I’M missing. As with 26a the letters to be removed are not contiguous.

3d  Solid material from former Communists, with notes forged (3,3,9)
{OLD RED SANDSTONE} – this is a geological term for sedimentary rocks of the Devonian period in North-West Europe (but it could also describe the make-up of 10a). Start with an informal phrase for former Communists (3,4) then add a conjunction (with) and an anagram (forged) of NOTES.

4d  Hiding silver in stash, trains for uncivilised behaviour (8)
{SAVAGERY} – insert the chemical symbol for silver inside a verb meaning to stash or stockpile, then finish with the abbreviation for trains or the railway.

5d  See 11a

6d  E.g. ‘piano’ and ‘forte’ for pianoforte? (10,5)
{EXPRESSION MARKS} – these are musical symbols indicating how a passage of music is to be played. If you put together the single-letter abbreviations for piano (softly) and forte (loudly) you end up (not surprisingly) with the two-letter abbreviation for pianoforte. This seems pretty weak to me, unless I’m missing something.

7d  It’s useless for hapless itinerant to go by rail (7)
{ENTRAIN} – an anagram (hapless) of (it)INERANT but without (use less) the IT.

8d  Desire endless pepper, as far as anyone can remember (4,3)
{YEAR DOT} – this is an expression meaning the very beginning of time. A verb to desire is shorn of its final letter (endless) and this is followed by a verb to pepper or sprinkle.

15d  Domestic upheaval for Poet Laureate, what with dash to Ohio (4,4)
{HOME HELP} – a charade of a) the abbreviation for Poet Laureate, b) an interjection meaning what or pardon, c) a dash in printing (as long as a lower-case letter ‘m’) and d) the abbreviation for the State of Ohio. Having worked that out you need to reverse it all (upheaval, in a down clue).

16d  Securing bone in grip (7)
{CLOSING} – insert the latin word for bone in a verb meaning to grip or clutch.

17d  See 11a

19d  Island some took in a war (7)
{OKINAWA} – the name of an island which was captured by US forces in a major WWII battle is hidden (some) in the clue.

20d  Secret agent failing GCSE organised petition (7)
{ENTREAT} – an anagram (organised) of SECRET AGENT without (failing) the individual letters of GCSE. Once again there is no indication that the letters to be removed are not contiguous.

21d  Sounds foolish to crush Manx cat in compound (6)
{SILICA} – a homophone (sounds) of an adjective meaning foolish followed by a cat without its rear end (i.e. a Manx cat which has no tail).

The clue I liked best was 3d. How about you?


19 comments on “Toughie 927

  1. I thought it was quite tricky, but absolutely loved the theme. Having been there, I would urge anyone to go. It is awe-inspiring. Well done Firefly for bringing back some lovely memories.

  2. Hi Gazza

    Re 6d, I took piano and forte to be the expression marks and they are instructions to the person playing a musical instrument like a pianoforte.

    Otherwise found this a tricky little rascal and agree about long anagrams!

    Thanks to Firefly and Gazza.

    1. Hi pommers,
      Glad you seem to be back to full fitness. If that’s all there is to 6d then I don’t see how it’s cryptic.

        1. I didnt think it was great but both those expression marks are instructions to be played on the pianoforte (Old Joanna)

  3. I got there in the end, but not much enjoyment on show today, thanks to Firefly and to Gazza for the dissection.

  4. Having spent longer than normal on the backpager, I approached the middle of the paper with some trepidation which it turned out was not unfounded. I too am not a fan of the giant anagrams with bits missing, especially first thing in the morning in an office where the heating appeared to be on a go slow (or should that be a go tepid?).

    Definitely 3.75* and 2* entertainment for me. Thanks to Firefly and Gazza.

  5. I had never heard 11a etc before so was incredibly proud of myself that I worked it out. Managed all but 3 – 1a stumped me. Had all the letters and first three words but just couldn’t work out last bit – never heard this expression before. Enjoyable though.

  6. I struggled to see why Raquel Welch appeared at the top of the hints as much as I struggled with the last nine clues. I don’t think I would ever have got 1ac,14ac or 18ac on my own. The nineteen twenty eighths I completed were thoroughly enjoyable though. Then I realised it wasn’t Raquel Welch after all. Thanks to Firefly for setting it and thanks to Gazza for the hints and tips (Oh all right then Thanks to Gazza for the answers) How he does it after all that drink I don’t know but he is headlining the red tops today.

  7. I had a go and managed to do about 3/4 before running here for help.
    I do like long anagrams but didn’t do too well today. Got 26a from the numbers then worked out where it all came from. I failed dismally with 11 etc – I’m ashamed to say that not only have I never heard the quotation, but neither have I heard of the poet so really didn’t stand a chance with that one. I always get in a muddle when clues are splattered all over the place anyway.
    I liked 26a and 3 and 21d.
    With thanks to Firefly and gazza.

  8. Thanks to Firefly and Gazza. Way beyond me, only got 11 answers, but enjoyed looking up how the others were derived. Can’t give a star Rating as I couldn’t do enough.

  9. I really enjoyed grappling with the long anagram at 11a – surprised that I solved it having absolutely no previous knowledge of Petra.

    I’m still non the wiser with regard to the pianoforte clue!

    (Is is more than a coincidence that Adverts for Holidays in Jordan are intermittently appearing at the end of the review?)

  10. There were enough entry points to convince me it was solvable but the long anagram proved to be an endurance test for me .
    “Got there in the end” about sums it up .
    When I asked the commandant about 6d she asked why I was doing a general knowledge puzzle !
    Thanks very much

  11. We struggled with the E side much more than the W for some reason but it all fell into place eventually. Not sure how long we took as the process got interrupted by having to rush a friend to the hospital after he had heard his wife had been in an accident. (Not too serious thankfully). Took a long time to get the last word of 1a and then tried to find something more clever for 6d than it turned out to be. 18a was a new word for us.
    Thanks Firefly and Gazza.

  12. Thanks to Firefly for a very perplexing toughie, I needed assistance in the N.E. corner. I’m still not sure if I enjoyed it or not. Thanks Gazza for the help.

  13. Managed to solve it after Spanish nightclass. 11a etc was the anwer to 1a in a Times Jumbo crossword years ago.

  14. I struggled with this one, being unfamiliar with the phrase at 1a and having never heard of the quotation in 11a etc at all. I was only able to complete that one at all because of the 4-3 term, which was gettable from the checkers, plus Google.

    I didn’t enjoy this as much as I usually do Firefly’s puzzles.

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