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Toughie 974

Toughie No 974 by Giovanni

Howlin’ At The Moon

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 BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

The usual solid puzzle from Giovanni, with the difficulty coming only from obscurities.

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5a    Beside a road there is dirty handkerchief (7)
{FOULARD} – A R(oa)D preceded by (beside) an adjective meaning dirty

7a    Is your setter game to be a friend abroad? (5)
{AMIGO} – how the setter might say “is your” (2,1) followed by a board game

9a    Lavatory sufficed, to be fair (6)
{CANDID} – a slang word for a lavatory followed by a verb meaning sufficed

10a    We sit around being entertained by silly men offering story (4,4)
{NEWS ITEM} – an anagram (around) of WE SIT inside (being entertained by) an anagram (silly) of MEN

11a    On return the German female’s on phone creating diversion (3,7)
{RED HERRING} – the reversal (on return) the German definite article and follow it with the femal possessive pronoun (female’s) and a verb meaning to phone – once again the online interactive version has dropped the rather essential apostrophe (it would appear that today’s character is actually a right single quotation mark [ ’ U+2019] rather than a genuine apostrophe [ ‘ U+0027])

13a    My word is given to supporter losing heart (1,3)
{I SAY} – the IS from the clue followed by a supporter without his middle letters (losing heart)

14a    Someone to study heavenly body (or ‘glean sphere’ fancifully) (13)
{SELENOGRAPHER} – an anagram (fancifully) of OR GLEAN SPHERE’

16a    See 1 Down

17a    Cyclone had dislodged rocky stuff (10)
{CHALCEDONY} – an anagram (dislodged) of CYCLONE HAD

19a    Become less severe about cook smelling (8)
{REDOLENT} – a verb meaning to become less severe around a verb meaning to cook or fiddle

20a    See some in Paris weep (6)
{DESCRY} – the French (in Paris) for some followed by a verb meaning to weep

22a    Irish poet of 21 drinking gallons (5)
{SYNGE} – Irish poet, perhaps better known for his play The Playboy of the Western World – the answer to 21 down around G(allons)

23a    Meet with ruin, not working (3,4)
{RUN INTO} – an anagram (working) of RUIN NOT


1d, 16a & 21d    Ugandans yell out words in friendly celebration (4,4,4)
{AULD LANG SYNE} – an anagram (out) of UGANDANS YELL

2d    Fellow fearless but no good as a high-up civil servant? (8)
{MANDARIN} – a fellow or chap followed by an adjective meaning fearless without its final G(ood)

3d    Queen sitting on rug maybe, squashing a small insect (6)
{EARWIG} – Her Majesty’s regnal cypher and a rug or toupee around (squashing) the A from the clue

4d    I had rolled over on top of small building and fallen off (10)
{DIMINISHED} – reverse (rolled over) the abbreviated form of “I had” and follow it with a four-letter word meaning small and a building or outhouse

5d    Female needing help across road? There’s warmth of affection (5)
{FLAME} – F(emale) followed by a condition that may require help to cross a road

6d    Stream possibly for a teacher who is on the move (7-6)
{DANCING-MASTER} – without the hyphen this could indicate an anagram to which the answer is STREAM

8d    Outdoor work done finally before pouring rain (4-3)
{OPEN-AIR} – a two-letter musical work followed by the final letter of donE and an anagram (pouring) of RAIN

12d    Moses stood on it completely pulverised, we hear (4,6)
{HOLY GROUND} – sounds like (we hear) an adjective meaning completely followed by a verb meaning pulverised

14d    Old coins from countries with King or Queen engraved (7)
{STATERS} – some countries around (engraved) the Latin abbreviation which is the same for King or Queen

15d    Stress over woman getting upset is something no one wants (8)
{ACCIDENT} – a stress on a syllable around the reversal of a two-letter woman’s name

17d    Sort of yarn women kept in basket (6)
{CREWEL} – W(omen) inside a basket used for fish

18d    Close company having removed Ecstasy — and its pusher? (5)
{NARCO} – an adjective meaning close and CO(mpany) without the E(cstasy) gives someone who might handle Ecstasy

21d    See 1 Down

ARVE Error: need id and provider

19 comments on “Toughie 974

  1. So happy! I finished without hints and even managed to get the ones I’ve never heard of (14A and 14D). Favorites are 9A, 1D, 6D and 12D. Many thanks to Giovanni for such an enjoyable puzzle and to BD for the review.

  2. Some a tad obscure however I fondly remember my old gran telling me that if I didn’t have a clean foulard then I could find one in her crewel. Happy days!

  3. I totally missed the reverse anagram at 6d. Apart from a few that required confirmation, on the whole not too tricky.

    Thanks to Giovanni, and to BD.

  4. Very enjoyable crossword from Giovanni today, on the easier side of his normal toughies I thought. Many thanks to Giovanni and to BD for a very entertaining review, ( thanks for the clip of my favourite singer the immortal Hank Williams ).

  5. Good stuff from the Don, favourites were 6d 12d and 14d thanks to Big Dave for the comments.

  6. I enjoyed this very much and didn’t even need the hints – I always read them anyway.
    Two new words for me to stick into the brain and hope to be able to retrieve next time I need them – 5 and 14a. I’d never heard of the Irish poet either.
    Favourites include 5 and 13a and 3 (for the mental picture) 6 and 18d.
    With thanks to Giovanni and BD.

    1. He’s very well known here, more for his plays than poetry, “Playboy of the western world” etc. I wish words new to me would stick, but they rarely do.

      1. I think when you see or hear a new word you’re supposed to use it as often as possible fairly soon after you learn it as this fixes it in your head – some are easier to use in every day conversation than others!

  7. A couple of words that needed either researching or confirming, so Mrs B and BRB had some work to do. We actually found this a little easier than the back-pager. Maybe because of more familiarity with the setter’s style. Enjoyable, well crafted.
    Thanks Giovanni and BD.

  8. Got them all apart from 14d where I resorted to the hint, rather than look up all the possibilities in the BRB. ***/*** for me.

  9. That was fun! Two new words (14D, 17D) but so well clued that they had to be what they were :-)

    Thanks to Giovanni for an excellent crossword, to Big Dave for an excellent website, and to BigBoab for his comment over at the Cryptic which encouraged me to tackle the Toughie.

  10. Selenographer? Come, Giovanni. Say ten times “I must not use electronic help to find abstruse words”

  11. I expect most of us use electronic assistance to find abstruse answers from the checking letters though!!

  12. P.S. can anyone think of a clue that works from hornbill to buceros to obscure to abstruse?

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