Toughie 983 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 983

Toughie No 983 by Giovanni

Thank Goodness for Wikipedia

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

There were quite a few answers today (especially in the across clues) which I didn’t know and which I needed to verify with Google or Wikipedia, but as always Giovanni’s wordplay is very precise and I didn’t find the whole thing too difficult (it was made easier by being able to work out the long anagram fairly early on from the enumeration).
Do let us know how you got on and please take the time to grade the puzzle for enjoyment by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

1a  Group of bacteria producing nasty eye spot right inside (8)
{SEROTYPE} – this is a group of bacteria having a set of antigens in common (please don’t ask me what this means!). It’s an anagram (nasty) of EYE SPOT with R(ight) inside it.

5a  Protests about one heavenly body (6)
{DEIMOS} – types of protests or rallies containing I (one) make a small satellite of Mars only about 10 miles in diameter which circles the planet once every thirty hours.

9a  Time to beat the bounds? You want rain to go somehow (8)
{ROGATION} – this is a period in the Church calendar when parishioners used to walk around the boundary of their parish and pray for its protection in the coming year. It’s an anagram (somehow) of RAIN TO GO.

10a  One version of Bible established a number of religious texts (6)
{AVESTA} – start with the abbreviation for the King James version of the Bible and add the abbreviation for established and A (from the clue).

12a/13a/28a/15d  Dreadful horsemeat fraud news causes mad fear — it’s a brief unreal experience for us! (2,3,4,5,2,6,3,4,2)
{WE ARE SUCH STUFF AS DREAMS ARE MADE ON} – this is an anagram (dreadful) of words 2-7 in the clue. It’s a quotation from Prospero in The Tempest meaning that the works of men that seem so profound while they are living really mean nothing in the end. If you thought the last word was OF then you’ve probably been watching The Maltese Falcon rather than Shakespeare.

13a  See 12a

14a  Request not to permit drug that’s a poison (4)
{BANE} – a request to prohibit something is followed by E(cstasy).

16a  Marriage’s warlike with couple inside rolling round (7)
{MARITAL} – start with an adjective meaning warlike and reverse (rolling around) two of the internal letters.

19a  A foreign fellow hanging around university is a greasy type (7)
{UNGUENT} – this is a type of greasy substance. An indefinite article (A) in a foreign language is followed by another word for fellow containing (hanging around) U(niversity).

21a  Church member needing to suffer a punishment I ignored (4)
{COPT} – this is a member of a Christian denomination in Egypt. A phrase (3,2) meaning to suffer a punishment (as in ‘you’ll *** ** when your father gets home’) loses its I (ignored).

24a  Arab ruler carrying gold in old marketplace (5)
{AGORA} – a Turkish word for commander or ruler contains (carrying) a tincture of gold.

25a  All needs worked out with English getting wartime help from USA (4-5)
{LEND-LEASE} – an anagram (worked out) of ALL NEEDS is followed by E(nglish).

27a  Hard worker has time left to switch places and lurk (6)
{LOITER} – someone who works hard has T(ime) and L(eft) swapped.

28a  See 12a

29a  Old port? Gosh, our navy has docked in it! (6)
{SMYRNA} – this is an ancient port on the Aegean coast in what is now Turkey. An exclamation of surprise (gosh!) and the abbreviation for our navy both go (has docked) inside the abbreviation for sex appeal (it).

30a  The old woman embracing individual, exuding love, a dominatrix? (3-5)
{MAN-EATER} – the latin word for mother (the old woman) contains (embracing) a word for an individual person without the O (exuding love) and A. I’m not sure that a dominatrix is the same thing as the answer which means a woman who acquires and discards male partners at a rate of knots.

Down Clues

1d  Box missing a tool in lounge (6)
{SPRAWL} – a verb to box without its A is followed by a boring tool.

2d  Second-hand dealer managed to hold meeting once a year (6)
{RAGMAN} – a synonym for managed containing the abbreviation for a company’s annual meeting.

3d  Student Union given little support (5)
{TUTEE} – the abbreviation for a union of workers is followed by a small peg for supporting a golf ball. Has anyone ever seen this word for a student used outside a crossword?

4d  Get anything but a quack remedy? (7)
{PROCURE} – this is no quack remedy because it’s a professional one (3,4).

6d  Alluring woman’s let go to ensnare a spy (9)
{EAVESDROP} – make a charade of the original tempting woman, the ‘S from the clue and a verb to let go or fail to hold, then insert (to ensnare) A.

7d  Insect making beastly noise – son has to clear off inside (8)
{MOSQUITO} – the sound made by a farm animal with S(on) and a verb to clear off inside it.

8d  Platform needs unendingly reliable flock surrounding leader of Conservatives (8)
{SCAFFOLD} – bring together an adjective meaning reliable or secure without its final letter and an enclosure for sheep (and by derivation the flock itself) then insert the leading letter of C(onservatives).

11d  Hit wicket — clumsy! (4)
{WHAM} – W(icket) followed by an adjective meaning clumsy or inexpert.

15d  See 12a

17d  Mob wanting British out in endless disturbance — they never get worn out (8)
{DURABLES} – following the Rufus clue on Monday I had hopes (from a pictorial point of view) that these were going to be items of underwear, but alas they’re not. An unruly mob without one B(ritish) goes inside an informal disturbance or brawl shorn of its final T (endless).

18d  In gym I flounder, with refusal to be held in dishonour (8)
{IGNOMINY} – an anagram (flounder) of IN GYM I with a refusal held inside.

20d  Silent leader has left work (4)
{TILL} – an adjective meaning silent or peaceful without its leading letter.

21d  Daughter leaving country, grabbing good man? It’s a game! (7)
{CANASTA} – take the D(aughter) out of a Commonwealth country and insert (grabbing) the abbreviation for a good and holy man.

22d  Inane holiday worker (6)
{VACANT} – a charade of an abbreviation for holiday and the usual hard-working insect.

23d  Maybe audibly ban smoker in church (6)
{CENSER} – this sounds (audibly) like a verb to ban. Nice definition!

26d  Bird submerged under lake or swamp (5)
{LERNE} – this is a swamp from Greek mythology where Hercules slew the Hydra as one of his labours. A sea eagle goes after (submerged under, in a down clue) L(ake).

The clues I liked best were 4d and 23d. How about you?

20 comments on “Toughie 983

  1. I studied the Tempest for A level (many moons ago) and knew the quotation but couldn’t quite work it out because I was ignoring the fact that 13a needed to be filled in too. D’oh. I knew 1a from the day job (although I have never dared ask exactly quite what they are!) and the only one I needed to investigoogle was 5a, although the wordplay was clear.

    Thanks to the Gs – guess what – my favourites are the same as Gazza’s. :) My difficulty rating would, however, be much more 4*

  2. Just about the worst possible crossword for me.

    All those obscure words – and the great big anagram split over four clues. However, with much electronic help, I managed to solve it and understand it – so Giovanni must be doing something right in his clueing!

    Last in was 26d – That will Lerne me!

    A comment on the Guardian Blog yesterday asked if Pasquale (aka Giovanni) has the ability to set a puzzle confined to normal words. Dream on!

  3. I found this extremely challenging but still very enjoyable. Lots of new words so many thanks to Giovanni, Gazza, and of course google.

  4. What a dreadful contrast to yesterday’s amusing, light offering. Boring clues and ridiculous words, viz.1, 5, 10 and 24across, 3 and 26down. A few more puzzles of this ilk and I’ll give up solving Telegraph crosswords

  5. Didn’t find 26d very satisfactory. Got the answer from the wordplay but could not confirm the answer on Google. All the sources show ‘lerna’ not ‘lerne’.

      1. Why is Lerna / Lerne in Chambers?

        How does Chambers choose which proper nouns to include?

        Maybe I should ask Chambers?

        1. A few editions back Chambers used to have a variety of appendices, like Latin words, abbreviations and mythology. These were later incorporated into the main dictionary (the one on first names was dropped completely). Lerne is probably there from the mythology appendix

          1. I only asked because “The Chambers Dictionary – 12th Edition” seems to be a mish-mash of Dictionary and Encyclopedia

            How do you spell encyclopaedia?

  6. We seem to have been investigoogling many of the same clues as Gazza. The “Zoroastrian texts” was the clue that caused a log-jam in the NE corner until Wikipedia came to the rescue. The “V” from this word gave the key that opened up the rest. All this took us into 4* time. Challenging, but good fun.
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

      1. Thanks Dave. Yes, both of those puzzles pre-date us. But anyway, we will probably forget it again before it crops up next time.

    1. I knew Avesta and remembered agora from an old puzzle. The answers that I had to check out were serotype, Deimos and Lerne.

      1. Gazza, we had exactly those three too, as well as a confirmatory check on rogation.

        1. Our neighbouring parish always ‘walks the bounds’ on Rogation Sunday so that’s an easy one to remember.

          1. Thanks Sue. This puzzle shows what we like about Giovanni. He takes us on lots of new “word journeys”.

  7. Suffering from more than a touch of Brian-itis. This was definely above my paygrade today. Hats off to all you super-solvers!

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