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Toughie 1014

Toughie No 1014 by Giovanni

Wrong Envelope Day?

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

Here’s proof that Wrong Envelope Day can work both ways. This one would have slotted neatly on to the back-page, and is certainly not a Toughie.  There are some good points – the grid is very open and the clues are, as usual from Giovanni, immaculately constructed – so much so that although 4 down was a new word for me, it was easily constructed from the wordplay with the help of a few checking letters.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.  You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a    Obvious curse coming with dismissal of second worker (7)
{BLATANT} – a verb meaning to curse without (with dismissal of) S(econd) followed by the usual worker insect

5a    Like many a gun named out loud (7)
{SIGHTED} – sounds like (out loud) a verb meaning named or mentioned

9a    Anger about one in a previous era — where did that woman originally come from?! (3,4)
{RIB CAGE} – a verb meaning to anger around I (one) and an abbreviation for a previous era (one that has been redesignated by religious pedants to change any reference to Christ into Common Era – how mad can you get?) gives the alleged place from which Eve was derived

10a    Sees mind endlessly wandering, bringing downfall (7)
{NEMESIS} – an anagram (wandering) of SEES MIN(D) without the final letter (endlessly)

11a    Pagan god takes a long time, being a bit twisted inside (5)
{HORUS} – start with a longish period of time and reverse the third and fourth letters (a bit twisted inside)

12a    Fish a fellow caught in European river, not hard (9)
{ARGENTINE} – to get this small marine fish with silvery sides, the A from the clue is followed by a posh fellow inside a European river from which the H has been removed (not Hard)

13a    Former Lib Dem leader sits by river thinking (7)
{DEEMING} – the nickname of the MP who became Lib Dem leader in the wake of Charles Kennedy’s resignation follows a river (Scottish or Welsh, take your pick}

14a    Poor man almost not bothering when kept outside game (7)
{LAZARUS} – this biblical beggar, not the person of the same name who was raised from the dead. comes from almost all of an adjective meaning not bothering followed by a two-letter word meaning when around the abbreviation of a fifteen-a-side game

16a    Pitiful long-term prisoner given a place that’s small in confinement (7)
{HAPLESS} – the name of a German war criminal who spent the last 40 years of his life in Spandau prison around (in confinement) the A from the clue and PL(ace)

19a    Thieves offering formula for getting small pieces (7)
{BANDITS} – split as (1.3.3), this could be a formula for deriving the answer from some small pieces

22a    Donkey left occupying magnificent green countryside (9)
{GRASSLAND} – a donkey and L(eft) inside (occupying) an adjective meaning magnificent

24a    Passage is swamped by amber liquid (5)
{AISLE} – IS inside (swamped by) an amber liquid (not the Scottish nectar of the gods, but the less potent English one)

25a    PM briefly entertained by bishop, a venomous type (7)
{RATTLER} – most of (briefly) the name of a former PM inside the abbreviation of the form of address for a bishop

26a    Strange delivery that may fox the batsman? (7)
{ODDBALL} – a delivery, one of six in an over, could fox the batsman

ARVE Error: need id and provider

27a    Beast straddling piano is a heavenly musician maybe (7)
{HARPIST} – a male deer around P(iano) and IS

28a    Short narrated account not right as rendered by author (7)
{TOLSTOY} – a verb meaning narrated without its final letter (short) followed by an account without (not) R(ight)


1d    Children originally exposed in lark possibly given old-fashioned punishment? (7)
{BIRCHED} – CH(ildren) and the initial letter (originally) of Exposed inside the type of creature of which a lark is an example (possibly)

2d    Vegetable not favoured in foreign inn (7)
{AUBERGE} – start with the egg-shaped fruit of an Asian annual plant and drop the IN (not favoured)

3d    Maiden entering was drunk in a banquet — but not from this! (5,4)
{ADAM’S WINE} – M(aiden) inside (entering) an anagram (drunk) of WAS all inside the A from the clue and a verb meaning to banquet gives a colloquial phrase for water (was not drunk from this)

4d    Chinese food with distinctive flavour served outside theatre (7)
{TREPANG} – a distinctive flavour outside the abbreviation for a theatre with a variety of plays and a permanent company of actors

5d    Various eagles seen around north country (7)
{SENEGAL} – an anagram (various) of EAGLES around N(orth)

6d    Little urchin playin’ competitively (5)
{GAMIN} – to get this street urchin drop the final G (as has been done with playin’) from a verb meaning playing competitively

7d    Expression briefly used to encapsulate wine that’s more palatable (7)
{TASTIER} – most (briefly) of a word or expression around (to encapsulate) a light sparkling Italian wine, often fobbed off at celebrations as champagne

8d    Lots of papers one left out for tramps? (7)
{DOSSERS} – drop the I (one left) from lots of dodgy papers

15d    Characters in inn lazed around drinking fine wine (9)
{ZINFANDEL} – an anagram (characters in … around) of INN LAZED around (drinking) F(ine)

16d    Artist exhibited in courtyard behind house (7)
{HOGARTH} – a courtyard which is surrounded by cloisters preceded by HO(use)

17d    Settler has to map out territory briefly (7)
{PLANTER} – a verb meaning to map out followed by the abbreviation (briefly) of TER(ritory)

18d    Problem for sailors? Perceive distress, from what’s reported (3,4)
{SEA FRET} – this fog (problem for sailors) is derived from what sounds like (from what’s reported) a verb meaning to perceive followed by a word meaning distress or state of anxiety

19d    One who is lying may have this support close by (7)
{BEDPOST} – a support that could be used for storing one’s chewing gum ovrernight!

ARVE Error: need id and provider

20d    Home worker, good person engaged for very brief period (7)
{INSTANT} – a two-letter word meaning home followed by the same worker that was seen in 1 across around (engaged) the usual abbreviation for a good person

21d    That woman in Paris is embraced by reticent poet (7)
{SHELLEY} – the French (in Paris) for “that woman” inside an adjective meaning reticent

23d    Conductor setting time in individual performances (5)
{SOLTI} – T(ime) inside the plural of an individual performance

ARVE Error: need id and provider

A bit of classical influence today with an author, a poet and an orchestra conductor!

10 comments on “Toughie 1014

  1. Very typically Giovanni and none the worse for it, slightly more of a back pager than a toughie but very enjoyable. My thanks to Giovanni and to BD for a very amusing and informative review.

  2. Enjoyed this one not overly difficult but immaculately clued, favourites were 9a 16a and 19d thanks to Giovanni and to Big Dave for the comments.

    1. That’s how I solved it but of course it doesn’t allow for the eating bit.

  3. This was Tough(ie) enough for me! I enjoyed it a lot but it’s taken me a long time and I was defeated by 11a.
    I don’t feel qualified to give it any star ratings for either difficulty or enjoyment as I so rarely even look at the Toughies, particularly in summer.
    I’ve never heard of the 11a pagan god, the 12a fish, the 4d Chinese delicacy (looks horrible) or the five letter word for courtyard in 16d. Have also never heard of 3d – Adam’s ale, yes, but not wine. They were all work-out-able from the clues.
    I loved 28a and 2d. My favourite was 18d.
    With thanks to Giovanni and BD.

  4. We enjoyed it. As soon as we see the name Giovanni on a toughie we grab the references books as we can expect a couple of answers will need them. So it proved to be, 4d 12a for example. Needed google for the 13a politician. Had also noted the two possible explanations of 3d. Elegant cluing as usual.
    Thanks Giovanni and BD.

  5. No complaints from me, 15d made me chuckle, 9d has me bruised for missing the obvious. Thanks BD and Giovanni

  6. 4 little crosswords from Giovanni with the usual obscurities and biblical references immaculately clued. I found the NW the trickiest but very taken with 9a once the penny dropped [one in a previous era].
    Seriously folks – would any other crossword editor allow such a grid?
    Many thanks to The Don and to BD.

  7. First time I’ve heard the phrase “Adam’s Wine”. I’ve only heard of “Adam’s Ale”. I suppose it’s because I’m a Northerner & wine was only ever Black Tower at Christmas when I was a lad.

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