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Toughie 1080

Toughie No 1080 by MynoT

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

My heart sank when I saw that my first blogging assignment for four weeks was to be a MynoT puzzle. But I soon cheered up when I found it to be a really a good puzzle and a vast improvement on many of MynoT’s offerings. Once again I showed that I am one of the world’s worse nina spotters because I didn’t see the rather obvious nina until after I’d finished the puzzle. But this was probably a good thing because had I spotted it early on I might now be complaining that the puzzle was too easy! There were a couple of answers that I hadn’t met before but these could readily be worked out from the wordplay.

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1a    Maintain wild stares (6)
{ASSERT} An anagram (wild) of STARES

5a    Neutral state of high energy on steamer (8)
{GREYNESS} An anagram (high) of ENERGY + an abbreviation for steamship

9a    Disturbing sound in tape unit for French ballet (5-8)
{CASSE-NOISETTE} A disturbing sound goes into a tape unit (a case containing magnetic tape for recording on) to give the French title of The Nutcracker

10a    Despicable behaviour showing girl’s in confusion (8)
{MEANNESS} A girl’s name inside ‘confusion’

11a    Affirmative answers being found in heart of Harley Street (6)
{YESSES} ‘Being’ goes inside the middle two letters of HarleY Street

12a    Take for granted bird’s sex appeal is returning (6)
{ASSUME} A reversal of flightless bird’s sex appeal

14a    Aristocrat beginning to eat potato dish (8)
{DUCHESSE} A female aristocrat + E (first letter of E)

16a    Predatory insect’s advanced in part of log (8)
{MANTISSA} A predatory insect (that prays) + ‘S + A (advanced) gives the fractional part of a logarithm

19a    Versatile son is a legendary Gaelic poet (6)
{OSSIAN} An anagram (versatile) of SON IS A gives the narrator and purported author of a cycle of epic poems published by the Scottish poet James Macpherson from 1760

21a    Southern capitals getting covered in dust? Exactly (2,4)
{AS SUCH} S (Southern) and an abbreviation denoting capitals in typography go inside ‘dust’

23a    African prince has mixed cases for fish (8)
{RASCASSE} An African prince + an anagram (mixed) of CASES gives another name for the scorpion fish

25a    Killing donkey is against new orders (13)
{ASSASSINATING} A donkey + an anagram (orders) of IS AGAINST N (new)

26a    Rocks start to seem unnecessary (8)
{NEEDLESS} Pinnacles of rock (such as those off the Isle of Wight) + S (first letter of seem)

27a    Cough needs fresh tissues with no end of resistance (6)
{TUSSIS} An anagram (fresh) of TISSUS, i.e. tissues minus E (last letter of resistance)


2d    Petitions about cricket club initially slow prosperity (7)
{SUCCESS} ‘Petitions’ round the abbreviation for cricket club + S (first letter of slow)

3d    Have a meal in German city (5)
{ESSEN} The German for ‘to eat’ is also the name of a German city

4d    The copy about slippery eels is missing set subject (9)
{THEMELESS} THE + an abbreviation for copy (for a printer) round an anagram (slippery) of EELS

5d    Painted brilliantly, which is also commented on (7)
{GLOSSED} 2 meanings: painted with paint that gives a shiny finish/commented on

6d    Try French art for example (5)
{ESSAY} The French for ‘art’ (as in ‘thou art’) + ‘for example’

7d    What one is worth when placed in difficulties (3,6)
{NET ASSETS} ‘when’ and ‘placed’ inside ‘difficulties’

8d    Female forecaster always in short session (7)
{SEERESS} ‘Always’ inside an abbreviated form of ‘session’

13d    International organisation’s fidelity to audience is loosened (9)
{UNTRUSSED} An international organisation + a homophone (to audience) of fidelity

15d    Angry soldier eating one’s roll (9)
{CROISSANT} ‘Angry’ + a soldier (insect) round I (one) gives a bread roll

17d    Soften cooked sausage (7)
{ASSUAGE} An anagram (cooked) of SAUSAGE

18d    Stewardess with close shave? (3,4)
{AIR MISS} This close shave (near collision) in the skies might also describe a stewardess

20d    Kill with spear because age is deforming (7)
{ASSEGAI} ‘Because’ + an anagram (deforming) of AGE IS

22d    Famous writer — he’s grabbing female’s end (5)
{HESSE} The surname of a German-born write = HE round a suffix denoting a female

24d    Famous writer’s improper (5)
{AMISS} The surname of two British novelists (father and son) + ‘S

A pleasant surprise

28 comments on “Toughie 1080

  1. Not my favourite type of crossword but cleverly done I suppose, thanks to MynoT and Bufo (clue wrong at 25a)

  2. Once I sspotted what was going on, it was too eassy to ssee the ssolutionss, apart from the two I didn’t know but which, like Bufo ssaid, were clear from the wordplay.

    Thanks to Bufo and MynoT

  3. Thanks to MynoT and to Bufo for the review and hints. A very unusual puzzle, I realised the theme quite early, so that helped. Needed 4 hints to finish. Still don’t understand 21a, what has “dust” have to do with it? Also can’t see the Nina. Favourite was 16a which I remembered from my school days. Was 3*/3* for me.

    1. The dust in 21a is ASH.
      I wouldn’t have called it a Nina exactly but there’s a pattern – all the answers having something in common.

      1. Thanks Gazza, I understand 21a now, but not sure when Bufo mentioned the nina, how would it help with the solving of the puzzle?

  4. Well I didn’t spot what was going on but I did enjoy it, favourites were 11a and 15d thanks to MynoT and to Bufo for the comments.

  5. What is a nina? What is ‘esse’? Googled without avail.
    Have to confess that this Toughie was well outside my newbie capabilities. Still, will look at the hints (for which my thanks) and try and learn.

    EDIT: Jeepers even with the hints I can’t see so many of them. For example ASSUME I can see the bird reversed EMU but SSA = sex appeal ??

    Too many to plague you with asking. Will slink away quietly back to Cryptic Corner

    1. “Esse” means “essential being or nature” (from the Latin word esse which means to be); ASSUME contains EMUS (bird’s), then SA (sex-appeal), all reversed.

      1. I can’t see any reference on the FAQ page. Just two links. One Toughie Setters and the other Prize guidelines.

          1. Ah that’s the quirky nature of the website then. Usually when I hover over a button, if a dropdown list appears then I assume then that is all there is. I see now that clicking on the FAQ takes you to a whole new cornucopia.

  6. Mynot’s puzzles always make me feel I’ve intruded into a senior common room somewhere [eg19a, 27a]. But this was clever and quite fun, even if 17d has been done dozens of times before. Enjoyed 11a and 7d.

    Thanks to setter and to Bufo.

  7. Got the theme pretty quickly but had not heard of 9a, 14a, 16a, 19a, 23a, 27a – too much general knowledge required to fit answers in the grid in what was, for me, a ‘trying to hard’ puzzle by the setter

  8. I had never heard the expression “Nina” before although I’ve often experienced them.

    However, what is the “rather obvious” nina in today’s puzzle? I can’t see it.

    1. I would have called it an extremely obvious theme rather than a a rather obvious hidden message (Nina)

  9. Well we totally missed the ‘NINA’ until we read the review this morning, and even then it took a long hard look. Feeling really stupid now! A few words that had us diving into BRB and Mrs B but all clearly clued so able to be deduced. Enjoyable solve.
    Thanks MynoT and Bufo.

      1. It is not a NINA as we are used to. It is a characteristic that is common to every answer in the puzzle. Sue’s comment at 3 above should point you to it.

  10. Thanks Bufo completed this in a rush so no time to parse post solve ,. Too thick to notice the theme early doors but cleverly done .
    Fav 11a but sorry cannot remember smiling once however as is the norm a “theme” from MynoT which made the satisfying solve a shade less difficult for me at least .Keep happy .

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