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Toughie 1051

Toughie No 1051 by MynoT

Bring Back the Alphabet?

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

In the past I (as well as other bloggers) may have given the impression that I was fed up with MynoT’s ‘alphabetical’ series and wished that he would move on to something else. Now that he has moved on I sort of wish that he hadn’t, because what we have now is decent enough as a puzzle but it’s not really a Toughie and there is a lack of sparkle. Of course there may be a Nina or theme there but if there is it’s passed me by.

Do let us know what you thought and please utilise the star system below to register your enjoyment factor.

Across Clues

4a  Hinting I have to follow everything American … (8)
{ALLUSIVE} – the contracted form of ‘I have’ follows a word meaning everything and an abbreviation for American.

8a  … graduate to Southern alternative rock (6)
{BASALT} – string together an arts graduate, S(outhern) and an abbreviation for alternate. The BRB says that the abbreviation stands for alternate rather than alternative but I suppose the two can be almost synonymous.

9a  Itinerant actors exchange pence for shillings to get clothes (8)
{TROUSERS} – start with a group of itinerant actors and swap the current abbreviation of pence for the old abbreviation of shilling.

10a  Not imagined but could be damn true (8)
{UNDREAMT} – an anagram (could be) of DAMN TRUE.

11a  Caught, unfortunately, after one’s infiltrated end of tunnel (6)
{CALAIS} – the abbreviation for caught (as seen on a cricket scorecard) is followed by an exclamation meaning unfortunately with I (one) inserted.

12a  Foreign aristocrat walks to Spain (8)
{MARCHESE} – this Italian nobleman comes from a verb meaning walks followed by the IVR code for Spain.

13a  Break promise of support to intercept hired thug (2,4,2)
{GO BACK ON} – a verb to support or endorse goes inside a hired thug.

16a  European to cross Iowa road (8)
{SPANIARD} – a charade of a verb to cross or traverse, the standard abbreviation for Iowa and the abbreviation for road.

19a  Journalist, upset, mischievously spikes sealing of alliance, French-style (4,4)
{DEEP KISS} – what is traditionally proposed at the end of a marriage ceremony is extended here to bring tongues into play. Reverse (upset) the usual abbreviated journalist and follow this with an anagram (mischievously) of SPIKES.

21a  Mysterious Arab punishment (6)
{ARCANE} – the abbreviation of Arab followed by a traditional school punishment.

23a  Bugs could make legs itch (8)
{GLITCHES} – an anagram (could make) of LEGS ITCH.

24a  Examiner not right keeping speed within bounds (8)
{MODERATO} – drop the final R (not right) from someone who reviews examination papers to standardise the marking.

25a  Kitchen apprentice promises to cut temperature (6)
{COMMIS} – the title given to a junior chef comes from a verb meaning promises or pledges with the T(emperature) cut out.

26a  Chopped thyme eaten by a holy man transformed into stone (8)
{AMETHYST} – an anagram (chopped) of THYME is contained inside (eaten by) A (from the clue) and the abbreviation for a holy man.

Down Clues

1d  Challenge wins always (7)
{GAINSAY} – this old-fashioned verb meaning to challenge or contradict is a charade of a verb meaning wins or acquires and a Scottish word for always.

2d  On island forage for goat (9)
{CAPRICORN} – forage here is a noun meaning food for horses or cattle and what we want is an example of that. Prior to that we have an island off the west coast of Italy. I’ve given up moaning about the dubious use of ‘on’ in across clues but surely in a down clue it’s got to mean above or on top of?

3d  A card is free from anxiety (2,4)
{AT EASE} – change the enumeration to (1,5) to get A (from the clue) and a verb meaning to card or comb wool.

4d  Muck around cage — tidy that; dog’s agitated (3,3,5,4)
{ACT THE GIDDY GOAT} – an anagram (agitated) of CAGE TIDY THAT DOG.

5d  Dress coils and bun for babes? (4,4)
{LION CUBS} – another anagram (dress) of COILS and BUN.

6d  Item in news is alarmist — fibre‘s needed (5)
{SISAL} – hidden (item) in the clue.

7d  I must look up for this or I become green first (7)
{VERTIGO} – if you suffer from this you’re advised not to look down. Another way of saying ‘I become’ (1,2) is preceded by a green heraldic tincture.

14d  Guide of eight announced search for crest (9)
{COCKSCOMB} – what sounds like (announced) a, usually small, guide or steersman for a crew of eight is followed by a verb to search carefully and systematically.

15d  Curve of yellow bird holding note (8)
{CATENARY} – I first came across this word in a Giovanni puzzle earlier this year – it’s a curve formed by a wire or rope hanging freely from two points that are on the same horizontal level. A yellow cage bird contains (holding) the seventh note of tonic sol-fa.

17d  A variety act (7)
{PERFORM} – an alternative to ‘a’ in a phrase like ‘50p a kilo’ is followed by another word for variety or style.

18d  A quote comes back about self-catering — one abstains (7)
{ASCETIC} – Start with A, then reverse a verb to quote and between the two insert the abbreviation for self-catering.

20d  Cable, perhaps, sent after start of engagement, express (6)
{EVINCE} – the forename of the current Business Secretary (what a boon he’s been to setters) goes after the start letter of E(ngagement).

22d  Practised for record time that’s given commercial support (5)
{ADEPT} – you need to read the last three words as ‘given support to commercial’ for the wordplay to work. An old record format and T(ime) follow the abbreviation for a commercial.

The clues that I liked best today were 23a and 14d. How about you?

11 comments on “Toughie 1051

  1. Thanks to MynoT for a gentle and enjoyable crossword, held up a little by putting corkscrew in 14d, thanks also to Gazza for the very amusing review.

  2. This one did not take much longer than the other puzzle today. Not what I would call a toughie; but thank you to MynoT, and to Gazza for the notes.

  3. This is the first ‘toughie’ I have attempted, and found it considerably easier than yesterday’s back page cryptic (but not as enjoyable)!
    But it seems I’m not alone in that.
    Still, being relatively new to cryptic crosswords (about 18 months or so), I am always pleased if I can complete any of them without resorting to hints.
    Thanks to all the givers of hints and help to get me to this point.
    20d had me scratching my head for ages and I’d never heard of a 12a or 24a though I managed to guess/follow clues for correct answers.
    My favourites 5d and 19a because I laughed out loud when the penny dropped.

  4. Not much to add really, surely not up to Toughie standard thanks to MynoT and to Gazza for the review.

  5. I don’t usually get round to the Toughie so felt quite pleased that I managed to finish it. I did find it harder than yesterday’s and today’s back pages though. Thanks for lovely review.

  6. 20d is of course not as obvious to us as to most of you, so caused a slight delay. Only one of us had heard of 25a and she was temporarily absent at the time, so another delay. Apart from those two, everything slotted in very smoothly.
    Thanks MynoT and Gazza.

  7. Thanks to MynoT and to Gazza for the review and hints. Needed 7 hints to finish, learned two new words in 12a & 15d. Must remember that a=per in 17a. Couldn’t get 2d even though it is my star sign :-( Favourite was 4d. Was 3*/2* for me. Managed the right hand side all bar two, then resorted to Gazza’s excellent hints.

  8. I enjoyed this although I can see that it isn’t tricky enough to be called a Toughie for all the very clever people.
    I used to like the themed crosswords, particularly the alphabetical ones, although I know that I’m in the minority in saying so. It seemed a way into the crossword, once you’d spotted the theme or the letter, and I think that the first Toughie I ever managed to finish was a Myno T.
    I knew that 15d would be useful one day if I could just manage to remember it for long enough!
    I liked 11 and 23a and 4 and 14d – oh and, because I did manage to remember it for long enough, 15d!
    With thanks to MynoT and gazza.

  9. Thanks Gazza ,much appreciated as usual and thanks to MynoT for a pleasant puzzle Only slight delay for whatever reason 11a which was last in ..
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