Toughie 987 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 987

Toughie No 987 by Elkamere

La Dolce Vita

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

As Elkamere puzzles go I thought that this one was on the gentle side, though ‘gentle’ from Elkamere is still reasonably difficult compared to some other Toughie setters. Do let us know what you thought.

Across Clues

1a  The woman wants to change a line of family (10)
{HEREDITARY} – a charade of a) a feminine pronoun, b) a verb to change or amend, c) A (from the clue) and d) an abbreviation for line or track.

6a  Before discharge, name US drugs officer (4)
{NARC} – an electrical discharge preceded by N(ame).

9a  On trial, so perhaps I will make laws (10)
{LEGISLATOR} – another word for the ‘on’ side in cricket then an anagram (perhaps) of TRIAL SO.

10a  A little farm in Ireland, very small (4)
{MINI} – hidden (a little) in the clue.

12a  Acquire energy drink (4)
{WINE} – a verb to acquire or gain followed by E(nergy).

13a  Supposed to ride, he’s unfit (9)
{THEORISED} – an anagram (unfit) of TO RIDE HE’S.

15a  Obvious — only a suggestion (8)
{OVERTONE} – a charade of an adjective meaning obvious or apparent and an adjective meaning sole or only.

16a  Football game finally finishes 1-1? (6)
{SEVENS} – this is a football game but it’s rugby football and it’s a cut-down version with fewer than half the usual complement of players. The final letter of (finishe)S is followed by how you might describe a score of 1-1 (or 2-2 or 3-3 …).

18a  Facing judge, regret being arrogant (6)
{UPPITY} – an adverb meaning in court as a defendant (** before the beak) followed by a synonym for regret or sympathy.

20a  Awfully riled up about fellow being arrogant (8)
{PRIDEFUL} – an anagram (awfully) of RILED UP contains F(ellow).

23a  Cup made from it may sort of melt? (9)
{STYROFOAM} – a semi-all-in-one where the whole clue is the definition. An anagram (melt) of MAY SORT OF.

24a  Lounge in hotel divided from its east wing (4)
{IDLE} – hidden (in) and reversed (from its east wing) in the clue.

26a  This could be major reversal for 6 Across’s first letter (4)
{AXIS} – this is an imaginary straight line passing through the centre of a body or shape and a major one is the longest such line in an ellipse. Expand 6 (not the clue, the number) to a word and add the first letter of A(cross), then reverse it all.

27a  Follow round woman into tip (3,3,4)
{TOE THE LINE} – the letter that’s round and a woman’s forename go inside one of the tips of a fork, say.

28a  Those finishing the soda admit gas is worrying (4)
{EATS} – the trailing letters (those finishing) of four words in the clue.

29a  One taken out by striker gets banter during game? (10)
{MATCHSTICK} – the striker here is someone wanting a light. Cryptically the answer could describe banter or ribbing at a sports event.

Down Clues

1d  Very good and completely audible? (4)
{HOLY} – this sounds like (audible) completely or totally.

2d  Jazz artist with good voice, perhaps rising (7)
{RAGTIME} – string together the usual abbreviation for artist, G(ood) and the reversal (rising) of a verb to voice or let out. The following links the answer here with the final bit of 4d:

3d  Corrupt editor stains paper (12)
{DISSERTATION} – an anagram (corrupt) of EDITOR STAINS.

4d  Wishing all the best for a criminal trap (8)
{TOASTING} – an alternative preposition meaning for (as in ‘we’re heading for London’) is followed by A and a slang term for a carefully planned trap to catch criminals.

5d  Old colonialist offering extremely rough poetry (6)
{RHODES} – the extreme letters of R(oug)H followed by some lyric poetry.

7d  A matter being discussed (2,5)
{AT ISSUE} – when split as (1,6) this could be a piece of organic matter.

8d  Like baby food and cold sandwiches (10)
{CHILDISHLY} – an adjective meaning cold or a bit nippy contains (sandwiches) a serving of food.

11d  Get on with it (12)
{FRIENDLINESS} – cryptic definition of the quality that helps you get on with other people.

14d  Perhaps Iran, supposedly holding old visitor in respect (5,5)
{ROGUE STATE} – O(ld) and an invited visitor are contained inside a verb to respect or think highly of.

17d  Marked card — ATM viciously swallows one (8)
{DRAMATIC} – an anagram (viciously) of CARD ATM containing I (one).

19d  Reward job in which DIY’s botched (3,4)
{PAY DIRT} – this is a North American phrase (derived from the business of prospecting for gold) meaning a source of rich reward. A job (in the theatre, say) has an anagram (botched) of DIY inside it.

21d  Lined up with independent film-maker (7)
{FELLINI} – a phrasal verb meaning lined up (4,2), as soldiers did on the parade ground, is followed by I(ndependent).

22d  1 Down smoke on a cigar (6)
{CORONA} – start with an expression of surprise (like the answer to 1d followed by ‘smoke’) and add ON A.

25d  Bonus for a king (4)
{PERK} – a preposition meaning ‘for a’ (as in ‘apples are 80p for a pound’) followed by the chess abbreviation for king.

The clues I liked best were 8d and 21d. What about you?


12 comments on “Toughie 987

  1. I’ve given up trying to rate puzzles on difficulty but this didn’t take too long and I enjoyed it particularly 18a,11d,21d.Achieved maximum thickness with 16a which was my last in .
    Thanks very much

  2. Elkamere is one of those setters whose wavelength takes me a little longer than most to ‘tune into’ so I was fairly sure that this was an easier Elkamere Toughie (as Gazza says its all relative) as I finished it off before my official start time. Thanks to him for the workout and to Gazza for the explanations – as well as your two favourites, I liked 26a for the sneaky way it kept making me check the clue/solution for 6a – did you hear the penny when it dropped? :)

  3. Really enjoyed this. 26a and 22d I found two really clever little clues that made me scratch for a long time. Lots of smiles and lots of fun. Many thanks to Elkamere and Gazza.

  4. Well, I’m quite pleased with myself because I had just three left that stumped me and for which I needed help…16A, 26A and 8D. Oh, and 1D, that I thought I had correct, though couldn’t figure out the word play, turned out to be wrong. I would never have got 16A in a million years! Lots of smiles from me, too. Many thanks to Elkamere and to Gazza for the invaluable assisitance.

  5. Good puzzle to come back to after doing our bit for the Spanish economy during the past ten days. Favourites for me were 8d 18a and 29a thanks to Elkamere and to Gazza for the review.

  6. He really is a crafty so&so. Spent ages trying to think of a word that meant “get on” as well as “with it” for 11d. Defeated by 26a -Like CSue and, I suspect, many others I was completely thrown by the misleading “6 Across”! In the absence of 11d 24a took some cracking too, [convinced it should be “loll” but couldn’t see why]. Otherwise not as tough as some but still a brain workout.

    Thanks to Elkamere and to Gazza for a fine analysis.

  7. Thanks to Elkamere and to Gazza for the review and hints. Found this quite enjoyable, but very difficult. Needed 7 hints and 4 look ups, to finish, but enjoyed what little I could do.

  8. If anybody wants me I’m hiding in the darkened room until Nanny gets rid of that nasty man, Elkamere. After that work out (which was only completed with Gazza’s assistance) even my arse has got a headache. Thanks to both as per.

  9. Took me a while to get started but definitely easier than most anax stuff. Big dave don’t know why but my phone really has problems with your site.

  10. We thought also that this was on the easy side for an Elkamere. ie, We could do it.
    However, just to stop us getting too 18a, we find this morning that we had 26a wrong. Had worked it out that the answer was something a Narc might find and had ACID for the answer, missing all the cleverness of the right solution. Much fun.
    Thanks Elkamere and Gazza.

  11. I would need to be on acid to decode 26a – otherwise enjoyable and doable.

  12. Dammit Dammit, I thought I had this one solved. Well I did in terms of getting all the right answers tho’ I missed the cricket bit in 9a , got most of the anagrams but couldn’t parse and had to resort to Gazzas excellent hints too soon. A solver I remain , a blogger a mere aspiration. Thanks as ever to Gazza and to Elkamere.

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