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Toughie 943

Toughie No 943 by Firefly

Multiple Jeopardy

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

The weather is freezing, the Telegraph Puzzles site is having another spell of misbehaviour and pommers has resigned as a blogger (we will miss you, pommers, if you’re still reading this). So, is there any good news? In today’s puzzle there’s a mini-theme of synonyms for 17d, but overall I thought that many of the clues were fairly mechanical.
Do let us know what you made of it and please take the time to rate the puzzle by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

1a  Like Sir Bradley Wiggins, doubled up? (5-6)
{TITLE-HOLDER} – Sir Wiggo is of course an example of this being a knight of the realm, but why ‘doubled up’? Is it just a reference to the fact that he’s also the current Sports Personality of the Year or is it something more subtle that’s passed me by? Your input on this would be welcomed.

7a/22a 17, deficient in visibility but visible in the grid? (5,7)
{BLIND CORNERS} – potential perils when driving could also, cryptically, describe a feature of today’s grid.

8a  Bird’s last to sustain capture in Windsor Great Park, maybe? (5,4)
{CROWN LAND} – start with a large black bird and add the last letter of (sustai)N and a verb to capture (a fish, perhaps).

10a  Navy ace departing peninsula could make tracks for London (2-5)
{UP-LINES} – an anagram (could make) of PE(n)INSUL(a) after the abbreviations for navy and ace have departed.

11a  Staff showing muscles, bending over, cut down timber (7)
{SCEPTRE} – reverse (bending over) an informal word for some muscles in the chest area and follow this with a word for living timber without its last letter (cut down).

12a  17 stars out east on the move (5)
{RISKS} – start with ** and take away the letters of ‘east’. ‘On the move’ tells you that the letters to be removed are not in the order specified.

13a  Disrespect is fitting over mess I scattered earlier (9)
{MISESTEEM} – reverse (over) an archaic adjective meaning fitting or suitable but before that place an anagram (scattered) of MESS I.

16a  ‘EBacc’s an A Level downsized!’ — Henry pre-empting son’s celebration (9)
{BACCHANAL} – we have to extract (indicated by downsized) a string of characters from the first four words but our task is not yet finished because we now have to replace (pre-empting) the S(on) with the abbreviation for henry (the SI unit of inductance).

18a  Subject in Violet Elizabeth’s vein, we hear? (5)
{THEME} – the lisping Violet Elizabeth Bott in the ‘Just William’ stories would have pronounced in this way the word for a vein of mineral running through a rock.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

19a  Association about to prepare surface for old courts (7)
{ASSIZES} – the abbreviation for association goes round a verb meaning to prepare the surface of plastered walls for decoration.

22a  See 7a

23a  Rich lot of frolics in the musicians’ gallery (5,4)
{CHOIR LOFT} – an anagram (frolics) of RICH LOT OF.

24a  Put up some money as salary for venture (5)
{ASSAY} – hidden (some) and reversed (put up, in an across clue?).

25a  Applies heat treatment to generate true asepsis (11)
{PASTEURISES} – this could be a semi-all-in-one with the whole clue being the definition. It’s an anagram (to generate) of TRUE ASEPSIS.

Down Clues

1d  Stumble on the Parisian ‘instant’ liqueur (6,3)
{TRIPLE SEC} – unknown to me, this is apparently an orange-flavoured liqueur. It’s a charade of a stumble, a French definite article and an abbreviation for a short time or instant.

2d  Couple leaving Spain rings with news (7)
{TIDINGS} – remove the final E (IVR code for Spain) from a verb meaning to couple or unite and add a verb meaning rings (this seems a bit weak since only one letter is different).

3d  Customs officer to remove crew (9)
{EXCISEMAN} – a verb to remove or cut out is followed by a verb meaning to provide with a crew.

4d  Vagrants beginning to break wind? (5)
{OBOES} – a word for vagrants has its first letter removed (beginning to break). Rather an amusing surface.

5d  17 gendarmes violently suppressing me (7)
{DANGERS} – anagram (violently) of GENDAR(me)S.

6d  Use piece of Velcro as temporary joint (5)
{ROAST} – hidden (use piece of) in the clue.

7d  Saucy stuff from Raymond after beer drunk touring old city (6,5)
{BEURRE BLANC} – the surname of the French-born chef follows an anagram (drunk) of BEER round the usual old city.

9d  Army led effectively around to a smaller extent without night vision? (11)
{DREAMLESSLY} – an anagram (effectively) of ARMY LED goes around an adverb meaning to a smaller extent.

14d  Advocate lawful involvement in raising marsupials (9)
{SOLICITOR} – a synonym for lawful goes inside (involvement in) the reversal (raising) of the short form of Australian marsupials.

15d  French scholars munch nibbles of especially nutritious salad as snack (9)
{ELEVENSES} – the French word for scholars or pupils contains (munch) the first letters (nibbles) of Especially Nutritious Salad.

17d  Perils of variable acceleration in glaring sun (7)
{HAZARDS} – insert an algebraic variable and the abbreviation for acceleration in an adjective meaning glaring or harsh, then finish with S(un).

18d  Unexpected head start with lost promotion for 17 (7)
{THREATS} – an anagram (unexpected) of HE(ad) START with the promotion or plug lost.

20d  Maiden dressed in check for dance (5)
{STOMP} – the cricket abbreviation for maiden goes inside (dressed in) a verb to check or staunch. When I solved this I assumed that the answer was a verb meaning to dance in a very heavy-footed manner but on checking the BRB I see that it is also the name of a dance.

21d  Poached fish? About time! (5)
{STOLE} – a flatfish containing T(ime).

The clues I liked best were 25a and 4d. How about you?

28 comments on “Toughie 943

  1. 1* difficulty (could easily have worked as a back pager) my only hold up being (as I remarked to a colleague) a couple of words where you had to think about how to spell them! Quite enjoyable, thank you Firefly. Thank you to gazza too – in addition to your two, I also liked 7d.

    1. I wouldn’t be very happy if too many like this, from the difficulty point of view, turned up on the back page.

  2. On 1a, I think, as you do, that ‘doubled up’ can only refer to the facy that Sir Wiggo is a title-holder in the sporting field as well as being a knight of the realm. For his sporting title, take your pick: Tour de France, Olympics, BBC… More than ‘double’ really.

    Thanks to Firefly and Gazza.

    1. re 1a Gazza and Deep Threat, crossword solvers of inquisitor and azed etc. in my local pub can offer nothing more, would love to know Fireflys interpretation.

      1. Thanks Deep Threat and andy. I still can’t think of anything better but I just have a gut feeling that there’s something that we’re missing. If ‘doubled up’ just means that he holds more than one title then it’s not terribly cryptic, is it?

  3. I enjoyed this very much, I agree with the 3* difficulty as I had made a mess of 7&22a which threw me for ages. Many thanks to Firefly and to Gazza for the review. By the way, can I give Pommers my best wishes, I hope he has not had to finish as a blogger due to ill health, he will be missed by all.

  4. Gazza re:20d – I think it was a “dance” performed by skinheads back in the ’70s.

    1. As an aside aren’t Stomp a dance group, albeit with dustbin lids and brooms. first entry for stomp had dance, but I would never have got the answer or be sure unaided

  5. Gentle fare on offer today, favourites for me were 4d 18a and 21d and I did remember doing the 20d in the Sixties. Thanks to Firefly and to Gazza for the review.

  6. Not too gentle for me, agree with rating. The dance to me is a social dance involving a heavy rhythmical step? Thanks to Gazza and setter. I’m frightened to ask BD, but why don’t you just get somebody else to review a particular setter’s puzzles?

    1. Primarily because we don’t know until the evening before (sometimes quite late in the evening) who the Toughie setter is, so that would make scheduling very difficult.

    2. I would be delighted if someone (anyone) volunteered to review Excalibur’s puzzles. I’m never going to solve or review one again, so if the next one comes up on a Tuesday, then it won’t be reviewed unless someone else does it.

  7. Unsurprisingly I made a mess of this!
    It became clear very quickly that I wasn’t going to get 17d and wasn’t going to get far without it – having got the ‘Z’ and seen ‘the sun’ I tried to make it ‘dazzles’ but that just wouldn’t work. So I looked at the hint for that and for 1a, having tried to make the second word ‘tandem’. I could go on . . .
    Anyway, I eventually did most of it but needed several hints either to get an answer or to explain what I had.
    I liked 8, 18 and 25a and 5, 7 and 21d.
    With thanks to Firefly and gazza.
    At the risk of being either dim or a pain (or both) I still don’t understand 12a.

      1. Well I did say I was being dim! I know now – I thought that they were just more little stars!! :oops:

  8. Thanks to Firefly and Gazza for the review and hints. Found this a bit more doable than yesterday’s, but still needed 14 hints, which I had to look up 6. Actually managed to solve 14.!

  9. As usual I found this difficult, not least because I thought 1a should be 6,5 with knight rider being the solution!

  10. Himself, if i’d have thought of that…. I didn’t think it was as easy as some here, they can’t all be by Elgar or the indy’s Bannsider,

  11. I’m saddened by this turn of events. I know this has been going on some time, but I have not wanted to get involved.
    I don’t think I’ve solved any of Excalibur’s puzzle, nor have I been a reviewer. Comments from reviewers/bloggers, I admit, have a few times got my dander up (not on this site) and, against my better judgment, I have mixed it from time to time. Pointing out something that the person has missed in the clue is a different animal entirely, and I think non-controversial.
    I would recommend as general principles that (a) the person writing does so on the assumption that the setter will read it, and (b) those who have never done it themselves be especially careful to criticize (thanks to the various people who commented in this vein). And the same goes for setters commenting on reviewers!

    Categories into which comments fall include:
    1. “This puzzle is rubbish”. Unnecessarily unpleasant and unhelpful.
    2. “This puzzle is not to my taste”. No problem, except for the lack of specificity. To the extent possible BD should align reviewers and setters sympathetically (there seem to be plenty of people who do like Excalibur’s style).
    3. “This puzzle is too easy/hard (for my taste)”. Likewise.
    4. “I think 4A is a poor example of a cryptic definition”. I don’t think the anagram indicator in 5D is adequate” etc. Helpful (at least potentially). Not offensive. Some people do not consider it necessary to add phrases like “in my opinion” on the grounds that it is implicit; my style is to include them anyway.

    People who publish crosswords, like anything else, enter an implicit contract to be subject to critique, but they are entitled to be treated with respect.

    1. Brian

      Your opinion is, as ever, highly valued.

      Your suggestion about aligning reviewers to puzzles is, unfortunately, difficult to implement for a number of reasons.

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