Toughie 967 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 967

Toughie No 967 by Notabilis

Pimp My Ride

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Notabilis has absconded from his usual Friday slot this week and given us a proper midweek Toughie, not as tricky as he can be but still a very enjoyable workout.
Let us know how you fared and please take the time to rate the puzzle by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

1a  Aliens whizz by sun, turning to achieve downward mobility (4,5)
{LOSE CASTE} – the downward mobility happening here is in social rank, especially in India. String together a) the abbreviation for aliens or extraterrestrials, b) an informal word for a whizz or talented person and c) the latin word for the sun, then reverse the lot (turning). This was my last answer as I was trying to fit in wee or pee for whizz.

6a  In LA, my ditching husband is contemptible (5)
{SUCKS} – start with an American (in LA) exclamation expressing surprise (my!) and remove the H(usband) to leave an informal intransitive verb (also American) used to describe something contemptible or unpleasant.

9a  Councillor storing nothing in socks, a role denied to beggar? (7)
{CHOOSER} – what a beggar can’t be according to the proverb. The abbreviation for councillor contains (storing) the letter that resembles nothing inside another word for socks.

10a  Blighted in pox, meet a kind of immunity (9)
{EXEMPTION} – an anagram (blighted) of IN POX MEET.

11a  One name adopted by citizen under Caesar, who’s very powerful (4,3)
{IRON MAN} – I (one) is followed by a citizen ruled over by Caesar with N(ame) inserted.

12a  Support allowance from Area 51 funds, hiding first of extraterrestrials (7)
{ALIMONY} – the abbreviation for area and the Roman numeral for 51 are followed by another word for funds with the first letter of extraterrestrials taken out. The surface doesn’t seem to mean anything. [Thanks to Jezza for pointing out that Area 51 is part of a military base in Nevada which is linked to conspiracy theories about UFOs, so the surface makes a lot more sense than I thought].

13a  NCO job consists of shutting up soldiers and barking (3,6,6)
{NON COMPOS MENTIS} – another abbreviation for an NCO (3-3), a job or position and a short verb meaning consists of are strung together, then ordinary soldiers are inserted (shutting up).

18a  Scorer cut leg in sudden attack, missing finish (7)
{POULENC} – this is a twentieth century French scorer. Insert LE(g) without its last letter (cut) in a sudden attack without its final E (missing finish).

20a  Sort of rapid or overhead delivery? (7)
{AIRDROP} – an anagram (sort) of RAPID OR.

22a  Sweetened beer gets the most out of solicitor (4,5)
{MILK STOUT} – this was the favourite tipple of Ena Sharples and her cronies in the snug bar of the Rovers Return (my knowledge of soaps is somewhat dated). A verb meaning gets the most out of or exploits is followed by someone who solicits.

23a  It’s unusual in house with one party wall, backing walls up (7)
{IMMURES} – insert an adjective meaning unusual or odd in a type of house with one party (shared) wall, then reverse it all (backing).

24a  Murphy, perhaps as part of balanced diet (5)
{EDDIE} – the forename of, for example, the American actor Mr Murphy is hidden (part) in the clue.

25a  Soviet city‘s tendency to dismiss a radical (9)
{LENINGRAD} – a tendency or inclination loses (to dismiss) its A and that’s followed by an abbreviation for radical.

Down Clues

1d  Circle and cross used in international form of language (8)
{LOCUTION} – insert the circular letter and a verb meaning to cross or intersect into a member of the multinational team which is going to wallop the Australians this coming summer (I’m not talking cricket, but we’ll probably thrash them at that as well).

2d  Promised to keep mulberry plant on sale, but not mint? (8)
{SHOPWORN} – a past participle meaning promised or pledged has a plant of the mulberry family inserted.

3d  Conventional form of French words with capitals raised (6)
{CUSTOM} – a charade of the French term for words and the abbreviation for capital letters all reversed (raised, in a down clue).

4d  Stones below Cliff before number is broadcast (6)
{SCREEN} – cliff is falsely capitalised to try to make you think of the ageless crooner. What we actually want is a word for a mass of small loose stones at the base of a cliff followed by N(umber).

5d  Gas dye we sprayed on the side (8)
{EDGEWAYS} – an anagram (sprayed) of GAS DYE WE.

6d  Mountain or lake said to provide cover for some below primates (8)
{SURPLICE} – primates here are senior clergy rather than apes and such. It’s a long time since we used to hear regularly about European butter mountains and wine lakes and the answer here sounds like (said) the excess that these represented.

7d  Always forgetting last time, spiteful woman set fire to bed cloth (6)
{CALICO} – this has all the ingredients of a Virgilius clue. Construct a sentence consisting of three 3-letter words meaning spiteful woman set fire to child’s bed, then remove the final T from each word (always forgetting last time).

8d  Tight connection between seconds and years (6)
{SLINKY} – insert a connection between S(econds) and Y(ears). Although S can stand for either second or seconds, the BRB lists Y as meaning only (the singular) year.

14d  Cancelling factors at first, five/zero’s worked out very large (8)
{OVERSIZE} – an anagram (worked out) of (f)IVE ZERO’S with the first letter of factors cancelled out.

15d  Muscle exercises court dictated? (8)
{PECTORAL} – a charade of the abbreviation for exercises, the abbreviation for court and an adjective meaning spoken or dictated.

16d  Cause of much discomfort right inside roomy vehicle (8)
{TORTURER} – insert the two-character abbreviation for right inside a roomy vehicle.

17d  Second high point of sale: further reduction of 24 assumed (8)
{SUPPOSED} – string together S(econd), an adverb meaning high, the abbreviation for point of sale and a further abbreviation of the forename in 24a.

18d  Spot tart up on fringes of Lanzarote (6)
{PIMPLE} – an informal verb to tart up or decorate in a flashy way is followed by the outer letters (fringes) of L(anzarot)E.

19d  Possibly fell and died after united plot (6)
{UPLAND} – fell here is a noun not a verb. D(ied)  comes after U(nited) and a plot or scheme.

20d  Start being shot in battle (6)
{ACTION} – the start of a theatrical performance (3,1) followed by an adverb meaning being shot or filmed.

21d  Pole’s carrier whose mutation could be random (6)
{RODMAN} – the answer could mutate into an anagram of RANDOM.

Top clues for me were 13a, 22a and 7d. Which ones were you taken by?

15 comments on “Toughie 967

  1. One of those four separate puzzles that just snuck into 3* difficulty territory. I too liked 13a and 22a.

    Thanks to Gazza and Notabilis.

    Fans of Elgar (I can’t be the only one!) might like to try his alter ego Enigmatist in today’s Graun.

  2. Agree with CS 4 separate puzzles ,but unfortunately I managed to have a gap (s) in each one for a while .Got there in the end ,last ones in 18a ,19d .
    A struggle for me but an enjoyable one .
    Faves 9a,13a,22a ,18d .
    Thanks very much .

  3. 2* difficulty for the bottom half, 4* difficulty for the top half. Thanks to Notabilis for an enjoyable battle, and to Gazza for the review.
    I thought the surface to 12a was ok, with area 51 referring to the military base in Nevada, and the association with UFOs.

      1. Gazza

        Any chance 20d might be a double definition? The first being ‘Start being shot’ (as in commence filming).

        1. Could be – I wasn’t totally convinced by ON for ‘being shot’. On the other hand if Notabilis had intended a double definition wouldn’t ‘Start shooting in battle’ have been better?

  4. A very enjoyable battle today, my thanks to Notablis for testing me to my admittedly meagre limit, thanks also to Gazza for a sparkling review.

  5. Thanks to Notabilis & particularly to Gazza for the image for 8d – i almost choked on my prawn salad sandwich! By the cringe – what a corker!

  6. Struggled with this one NW corner last to surrender, favourites were 7d 18a and 22a thanks to Notabilis and to Gazza for the review.

  7. Thanks to Notabilis and to Gazza for the review and hints. I thought this was much more difficult than yesterday’s puzzle, which was also 3*. I only managed to solve 6 clues before resorting to the hints. Way too tough for me, I still can’t understand 3d, even though I’ve read the hint many times. Was 5*/1* for me. Perhaps i need to get on the setter’s wavelength, but after reading the hints, I doubt that I would ever to be able to solve them myself.

    1. 3d The definition is conventional form, i.e. normal usage. It’s MOTS (French words) + UC (upper-case) all reversed.

  8. Tougher than 3* for us. Time showed at least a 4*. Last corner in was NW, mainly because UC was a new abbreviation for us. Tried initially to put “stingy” in for 8d in the hope that “ting” might have a secondary obscure meaning. No such luck. Good thing too as a pic for stingy would not be as pleasing on the eye. A good challenge that we did eventually complete successfully.
    Thanks Notabilis and Gazza.

Comments are closed.